Flip2BFit® is the newest fitness craze for differently-abled kids! The game combines nutrition trivia, yoga, stretching, and aerobic exercises in a fast and fun workout appropriate for the whole family. Players compete individually or in teams in a race through the park to meet “Springer” the dinosaur in the playground. Crab crawl, lunge, toe touch, and do the downward dog to move your piece around the park. Make a poor nutrition choice and you’re going to have to move back a few spaces!
Early and ongoing exercise helps differently-abled children make significant strides toward purposeful movement and increased cognitive and social development.
Gross motor skill development refers to a child’s ability to effectively use the large muscle groups that control arm, leg, and core body movement. These muscles support their body’s ability to walk, reach, lift, throw, sit upright, and maintain balance and coordination. Many differently-abled children experience developmental delays in their ability to use their bodies’ large muscle groups.
Motor planning also presents differently-abled children with enhanced challenges. To understand motor planning, think about trying to cross a stream by stepping on rocks. You need to evaluate which rocks will best help you cross the stream without falling in, right? Then, you step, hop and jump from one to the next using your arms to create momentum and maintain balance. You may also have to adjust course during the trip. Differently-abled children need extra practice to develop these mental and physical skills.
Further, being overweight creates an additional layer of difficulty for differently-abled children who already work harder than their typically developing peers to accomplish activities of daily living:
- Bathing and toileting become more difficult for the child as well as their caregiver.
- Movement becomes more difficult thus curtailing a child’s ability to participate in playground activities, for example.
- It increases the potential for bullying for children who may be already be experiencing it because of their different-ability.
- In the long term, being overweight makes children, adolescents, and adults more susceptible to diabetes, asthma, cardiovascular disease, orthopedic problems, sleep apnea, cancer, and osteoarthritis.
Flip2BFit®innovatively promotes the development of gross motor skills and motor planning. “Spiderman Crawls”, for example, get the heart pumping and the big muscle groups working! The “Praying Mantis” builds strength and balance. “Windmills” stretch the arms’ large muscle groups. Simple instruction and picture cards facilitate players’ success. Success builds self confidence.
Flip2BFit® builds bridges between differently-abled children and their typically developing siblings and peers as they together develop coordination, strength and personal relationships. More broadly, the family that plays together bonds together!
Heather Parisi is the CEO/Founder of Flip2BFit® and Fitness for Africa. Her passion for children; recognition of the rapidly rising childhood obesity rates in this country; and, acknowledgement of the large numbers of starving children around the world inspired her to create Flip2BFit® and Bakari® . Her goal is to promote healthy lifestyles for children and families by putting the FUN in fitness and nutrition!
Tags: children, children with autism, children with down syndrome, fitness, Flip2BFit, game, gross motor development, gross motor skills, health, Heather Parisi, play, toys for children with autism, toys for children with Down Syndrome