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Physical Activity For Preschoolers

February 12, 2014, 6:21 PM by Casey Wonnenberg

Physical Activity For Preschoolers

From dribbling to passing, these area preschoolers are learning the first steps of soccer.

"I kick and play games and do soccer," Lyric Otto said.

Lyric Otto is one of the three to five years olds taking part in this Soccer Sprouts class. The program is designed not only to teach preschoolers the fundamentals of the game, but also has a "goal" of increasing kids' physical activity level all while having fun.

"At the end of the day, they're pretty pooped with red faces, and they are all sweaty, but they're like, 'That was really fun,'" Soccer  Sprouts Director Becky Janssen said.

Director Becky Janssen takes her program to area preschools and daycares.

While many kids enjoy running around and burning off energy, Janssen says these days there are so many other sedentary activities.

"We've got video games. We've got iPads. We've got all those things," Janssen said.

On top of that, many parents have busy schedules after work. That's why Janssen takes advantage of the daytime hours, when kids are at daycare or preschool.

"Allowing night and weekends to be freed up for family time," Janssen said.

Exercise is important at this age because children who are overweight or obese as preschoolers are five times more likely to be overweight or obese as adults.

"If they can learn these skills, then the more apt they're going to be to want to do it when they get older," EmBe South Childcare Director Allison Sanderson said.

"Now they go home, and maybe if their mom or dad does a physical activity, the kids are more like, 'I want to help with you,'" Janssen said.

Which is exactly what Otto aims to do.

"I play at home and at the school," Otto said.

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