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April 12, 2011 > Get moving with Healthy Kids Day

Get moving with Healthy Kids Day

By Julie Grabowski

Play is the order of the day at the annual Healthy Kids Day, a nation-wide event through the YMCA encouraging healthy habits and physical activities for kids and families. On Saturday, April 16, the Fremont/Newark Y invites the community out to Lake Elizabeth for a day packed with hand-on activities and information.

Fremont/Newark Y has participated in Healthy Kids Day for several years, but only in the last four have they made the day a collaborative effort with other local agencies, which has made the event a big success. This year the Y partners with Kidango, Mission Valley ROP, Ohlone College Child Development Department and the City of Fremont to offer a four-hour fun fest for kids and parents alike with games, activities, bounce house and more.

Y Executive Director David Hembree says the event is "a highlighting of good services for everyone." Over 30 service providers will be on hand, including Fremont Unified School District's preschool program, Sunrise Energy, Palo Alto Medical Foundation, Child Family Community Services, American Swim Academy, Top Flight Gymnastics, and Washington Township. Each provider will have an activity, educational information, recreation or healthy activity theme.

Hembree says some come specifically for the event, while others out and about are drawn in to see what the party is about. People come and go throughout the day, but last year an estimated 1,500 to 2,000 people took part in Healthy Kids Day. "We've been fortunate. It's a good time," says Hembree.

The event will be different for each parent according to their family's needs, such as whether they need medical care for their kids or simply to find ideas to encourage active play. Program Director Catherine Rice says the day is an opportunity to meet the different needs of people in the community while sparking enthusiasm for active involvement in their families. "We're trying to encourage parents to spend quality time with their kids," says Rice, as well as "show parents the simple things they can do with their kids outdoors."

The event shows that fun activities don't have to be costly or complex, and offers plenty of free and simple games including those you can create yourself. Families will enjoy basketball, parachute games and songs, ring toss, hula hoop games, as well as get it in the bucket, where players have buckets attached to their waists and run around trying to get a bean bag into others' buckets.

Getting a jump on the event, the Y has provided a list of five simple ways that families can play and be more active together starting today:
1. Schedule a Game Night: Play games with the kids that incorporate physical activity, such as Charades.
2. Dance, Dance: Turn on your favorite party music and dance! Make this activity more fun with a dance contest.
3. Go Riding: Find a new bike path or park for a fun afternoon outdoors; grab your helmets and go rollerblading or bike riding.
4. Channel Your Inner Youth: Remember playing hopscotch, jump rope, Simon Says or freeze tag as a kid? Teach your favorite childhood game to your kid(s) and play them together.
5. Play Outside: Visit your neighborhood park or camp out in your backyard for some outdoor fun. Get everyone moving with fun sports like soccer, basketball or baseball.

This weekend grab your kids, head outdoors and do what Saturdays were invented for. "Come out, make a play date, plan to do something fun and free," says Rice, who suggests a minimum of two hours to get around and experience all the event has to offer. "They will have their hands full," she promises.

For more information on Healthy Kids Day or to learn more about the programs of the Newark/Fremont YMCA call (510) 657-5200 or visit

Healthy Kids Day
Saturday, April 16
10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Lake Elizabeth Pavilion
40000 Paseo Padre Pkwy., Fremont
(510) 657-5200

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