WIC in Vermont
Vermont Fit WIC encourages you to be active with your children – indoors and out, warm or cool, find time to play everyday! Fit WIC’s goal is to help you increase the amount of time your child spends playing actively, and reduce the amount of time they spend being sedentary. Since children are naturally active, if you take them outside they will play. Find a safe place for them and keep an eye on them, or better yet, play with them!
Explore the different seasons. Stomp through Spring puddles, run through the sprinkler, jump into piles of autumn leaves, build a snow fort. In cold weather it will be easier if you keep everyone’s outdoor clothes organized. During summer it’s helpful to keep sunscreen, hats and water handy.
Fit WIC Activities
Fit WIC materials are designed to be used by parents and children together. Additionally, there are Fit WIC resources for early childhood educators and care providers who work with young children in group settings.
To request a copy of the Fit WIC Activity book, send your name and mailing address to: WIC@state.vt.us
The Fit WIC Activity Pyramid is a guide to physical activities that are best for children 3 to 5 years of age. The main idea is to play and be active everyday! Second is to teach your child play skills that support their growth and development and give her opportuntiies to practice and improve. Third is to get to know places in your community where you can be active with your family. Make it fun while building a lifetime love of being active.
Your child’s most important teacher is you! The skills that you teach your child through active play will build her self-confidence, help prepare her for success in school, and help her feel comfortable about being active the rest of her life.
Here’s how to use it:
Play Every Day
The base of the Activity Pyramid lists ideas for activities to do everyday, from simply going outside to play and helping out around the house, to walking the dog and raking leaves or shoveling snow. Try to get outside to play everyday and to include a variety of helping activities in your daily routine. Children need 60 minutes or more each day of unstructured playtime, where they are free to be active. Just going outside is a great way to encourage this kind of play. The Everyday Activities and Play section of the book offers ideas for unstructured playtime.
We all need to be active. Small amounts of physical activity throughout the day adds up — play several times each day to meet the goals for your child and for yourself too. Children like to be active — keep them moving as much as possible every day. Your child doesn’t need to play for 60 minutes all at once — most young children do best with shorter periods of active play throughout the day.Take advantage of your child’s natural activity level by teaching him to help you inside or outside. Helping around the house teaches children responsibility and respect. Children like being helpful! At first it will take some effort on your part, but it will pay off in the long run. Helping around the house is a good alternative to watching TV. And keeping the house and yard picked up leaves a clear space for kids to play safely!
Turn Routine Housework into a Game - The helping activities listed below are perfect for your 3 to 5-year-old. Start with the easiest ones and work your way up to harder jobs. See the Skill-Building Physical Play section for ways to turn routine housework into games.
Your child can help with indoor and outdoor helping activities such as:
- picking up toys
- making beds (pull up the covers, fluff the pillow)
- sorting, folding and carrying laundry
- help wash, dry and put away dishes, pots & pans
- clean floors (sweep, mop, vacuum)
- dust furniture
- carry and put away groceries
- help cook (wash fruit, make salad)
- set the table for family meals
- water house plants
- feed and care for pets
- sweep the porch
- pick up the yard
- rake leaves
- shovel snow
- hang out the laundry
- carry out the trash and recycling
- wash the car or brush off the snow
- stack firewood or pick up kindling
- walk the dog
This winter, plan for one hour each day to be outside; walk to your favorite skating park, build a snow person, or shovel a path to the woodpile and carry in some firewood. Use your imagination to create new activities and memories!
Playing with your Baby (newborn to 12 months old) - From birth, give your baby safe opportunities to move and expore. Babies love "floor time" where thay can reach, roll and crawl. Try not to keep him in his infant seat, crib or playpen for too long at one time. Play games like peek-a-boo and pat-a-cake.
Playing with your Toddler (1-3 years old) - Toddlers are learning to control their own bodies and develop skills like walking and balancing. Active play helps your toddler tap into his creativity and imagination too. Play games like follow the leader, marching band, ring around the rosy and chase me.
Playing with your Preschooler (3-5 years old) - Preschoolers are developing confidence in movement skills that will prepare them for more advance physical activities like school sports. Play games that help them to improve their skills like kickball, hopscotch and tag.
Preschoolers learn by moving, imitating and following examples. Children also need at least 60 minutes a day of structured play, where you are there helping them practice physical skills. In the middle section of the pyramid are ideas for helping your child learn specific skills, such as balancing, throwing and catching, jumping, and climbing. Plan for active time in your child’s day to help her develop play skills.
Developmentally appropriate play skills need to be taught and are important to the physical well being of your child. The more your child practices, the more skilled she will become. You’ll find lots of fun ways to do this in the Skill-Building Physical Play section of the Fit WIC Activity book.
Special Outings and Exploring
At the top of the pyramid are suggestions for special outings and places to explore with your child. These activities can offer variety and are fun for the whole family. Introduce your children to the local library and check out some new books to feed your child's growing mind. Visit the farmers' market, explore a new park or attend a special event in your community. Plan outings with your family often.
Your child doesn’t need to play for 60 minutes all at once — most young
children do best with shorter periods of active play throughout the day.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends your child watch no more
than 1 to 2 hours of TV/screen time per day, and does not recommend any television for
children 2 years and younger.
Choose books that tell a story about running and jumping, or suggest movement, such as dancing to stimulate your child's imagination and promote physical activity. Many titles can be checked out at your local library.
Below are reading suggestions for quiet times. If your child doesn't have a favorite book to snuggle up with, may we suggest a story about growing food or counting - click below for specific titles and authors.
To help your child settle down after active play, try to develop a regular cool down routine. Here are some ideas:
- Offer your child a refreshing glass of water.
- Offer your child a favorite comfort.
- Offer to read your child a story — try the wonderful titles listed at the end of this section, or an old favorite!
Teach your child a special signal that lets her know it’s time to cool down — this could be clapping your hands, holding up 2 fingers in the air, or singing a familiar song like “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.” Use this signal every time it’s time to settle down.
Learn more about Vermont and other Fit WIC projects and resources from WIC Sharing Center.
For Educators and Care Providers
- Fit WIC Educator's Guide
- Fit WIC, Food & Feeding Resources from other States
- More Vermont Resources from WIC Sharing Center
- Fit WIC Fun and Games
- Fit & Healthy Kids
- Find and Go Seek
- Let’s Move
- Park Finder
- National Wildlife Federation Nature Find
- Find a local playground