The Brandywine YMCA's Healthy Kids Day was held on Saturday afternoon at the West Brandywine Township YMCA on Hurley Road from 11am until 1 p.m. This annual event's purpose is to educate both parents and children about healthy lifestyle choices with games, prizes, exercise and nutrition.YMCA Director Mitch Bernstein estimated approximately 900 parents and children attended the fun-filled day. Some of the events included a ladder demonstration by East Brandywine Fire Company, face painting, a moon-bounce and fitness activities. Event Coordinator Carol Boer-lin Ricedorf said, "We just had a wonderful turnout."
The entire family had the opportunity for a family walk on the outdoor track located in the rear of the YMCA property throughout the event. In the gymnasium children moved through various physical tests and a pre-school obstacle course including hanging on a bar to develop arm strength, climbing over and under obstacles, crawling through a tunnel, walking on a low balance beam to aid a child's coordination.
Children also performed situps and pushups and then checked with Fitness Director Debbie Bower to see how they did. Bower said she compared their ages and the number of push ups or sit ups completed and compared those numbers to the national average.
Once through the test, nine-year old Coatesville resident Claiborne Moore said, "My favorite thing was doing sit ups. My brother, Asher, did 36 pushups. I think sit ups are harder than pushups." At age 9, Moore completed 23 sit ups.
Community groups like the county's Women, Infant and Children or WIC program distributed nutritional information meant for families with very small children on a limited income.
The COAD Group, a mental health organization, stands for Chester County Council on Addictive Diseases had many flyers on mental health issues. This is the third year the COAD group has participated. Its program's Public Relations Director Tracy Behringer said, "We gave out plenty of information on mental wellness."
A pamphlet on bike safety included tips on how to choose a bike that is the right size for a child. Since the warmer weather is just about here, parents should inspect their child's bike to make sure the tires are in good shape free of obvious wear and tear and without cracks. Make sure the tires are inflated. Make sure the chain is well-oiled and rust-free.
Fitness Director Kristi Meilcher showed the children how to exercise with a jump rope. The children outstretched their arms and bent their knees following Meilcher's lead. The children laughed and giggled as they moved through those exercises.
Families and children moved to the snackbar area for the food information. They each received a bag of popcorn and assorted healthy snacks and drinks. Nutrition literature showed the color of vegetables and fruits were signs of different nutrients. The categories are green, yellow-orange, red, blue-purple and white. Nutritionists feel we should eat more dark green, dark orange, and beans to get more nutrients into the American diet.
The Y emphasized the need to drink plenty of water with exercise and throughout the day. After the official healthy kids day was over. The YMCA included a two-hour family swim in the indoor pool.
Boerlin Ricedorf said, "Our Healthy Kids Day event is part of our mission to serve the community outreach programs we run. The goal is to show families the importance of being active and eating well. We believe that a healthy lifestyle should be developed at a young age so the tenants of physical activity and proper diet will remain with them for years to come."
With the laughter and fun both parents and children shared on Saturday, healthy fun doesn't have to be dull or painful. The idea is to get out and get active as a family so that everyone can enjoy a healthy lifestyle