Staying active is one of the most important elements of a healthy life. It builds energy, burns calories, and boosts motor skill development. Talking about health gives us a great opportunity to discuss some ways to prevent Type 2 diabetes in children and instill a love of movement. Along with making nutritious food choices and taking any medicines prescribed by the doctor, one of the keys to managing or preventing diabetes is to exercise regularly. Kids are more likely to engage in activities when they are fun and enjoyable. Here are some ideas to promote movement with little ones indoors. Note that kids should be barefoot or in thick socks or slippers to avoid accidents and help pillows and cushions last longer. Ensure that each activity is a safe success by providing close adult supervision. Check equipment frequently for any unsafe features.
Play Balloon Volleyball: Use couches and chairs as a net and bat balloons across to each other. Or, play balloon “hot potato,” where children try to keep a balloon in the air without letting it touch the ground.
Designate a Running Path: Design a clearly marked pathway for running in circles or a straight path from a wall to a soft place to flop down. Encourage children to come up with different ways to move: crawling, crabwalking, walking backward, hopping like a rabbit, hopping on one foot, etc.
Make a Rope Swing: Use a 1-inch to 1 and 1/2–inch rope with a big knot on the bottom and knots about every 18 inches for children to climb up and swing on. This can be hung in a doorway. (Have a hook or other method to hang it out of reach when you don’t want it in use.)
Use Mattresses and Mats: An old mattress or 2-inch fabric-covered foam mat are good for somersaults, tumbling, or wrestling. An old mattress and box spring are also good for bouncing on.
For more ideas on gross motor activities, see our complete handout here. More information about diabetes is available on the American Diabetes Association website and there are lots of kid-friendly, diabetes-friendly meal ideas on our Spotlight on Diabetes Pinterest Page.