The growing national concern about children's obesity and general lack of physical fitness has spawned an amazing variety of children's recordings about health. The recordings listed here are only a sampling of what's available.
*Baby Record and Songs & Games for Toddlers By Bob McGrath & Kathryn Smithrin Kids Records, both $8.98
Sesame Street star Bob McGrath and music educator Kathryn Smithrin get the baby off to a happy, healthy start with this blend of narration and song. Bounce, rock and "horsey" your infant to nursery rhymes, action songs, finger-or-toe-plays, music activities and lullabies to help develop walking, jumping, co-ordination, language and relaxation skills. The toddler album invites children to participate in its artfully simple selections over and over again.
*Playful Parenting: Diaper Gym and Touch Teach and Hug A Toddler KIMBO both $9.95.
This new series emphasizes playful, warm parent-child interaction. Mellow music, from nursery rhymes, show tunes and classics, creates a relaxing mood and the instruction booklet has almost as many directions for cuddling and hugging as for actual exercises. The same philosophy of warmth and play continues for the toddler whose boundless energy will find expression in musical games, running, jumping, tumbling and free dance.
*Fit Kids: A Preschool Exercise Program with Patty Dow Cyclops Records, $9.95 for each of three volumes.
Patty Dow has integrated dance, acrobatics, gymnastics and physical fitness into a program to start children from one month to age three on the road to lifetime fitness. Each volume has routines appropriate to a different age range.
*See and Be: Rachel Carr's Primer of Yoga and Creative Movement for Children Caedmon, $8.98.
Carr's clear instructions are punctuated by music and children's voices croaking, quacking and hissing as they jump, waddle or slither through these imaginative games. A wonderful physical release for a preschooler and guaranteed to wear out any adult bold enough to join in.
*Growing: Health Songs
By Brian Mackness
Folkways Records, $9.98.
These songs, composed for an Australian children's radio series about health, can serve as an antidote for many common growing pains. Soft rock effectively carries the message of lyrics touching on family, heredity, old age, what makes me special, exercise, leisure time, diet and sleep.
*Dance A Story/Sing A Song By Anne Lief Barlin and Marcia Berman Learning Through Movement, $9.95.
Creative dance movements drawn from the folk culture of Africa, Japan, Holland, Israel, Mexico and the United States offer a stimulating alternative to sit-ups, while stretching your child's imagination and body.
*My Doctor, My Friend By Bennett L. Gemson, M.D. Sung by Rick Charette Educational Activities, Inc., $9.95.
Gemson, a pediatrician and a grandfather, offers information about such events as the yearly exam, a new baby and getting a shot to demystify these sometimes terrifying aspects of a young child's life.
*Walk Like The Animals By Georgiana Stewart Kimbo, $9.95.
Walk like a bear. Bend over, hands on floor, legs and arms straight. Now lumber along to some proper ursine music. This comic routine helps develop the right muscles, coordination and balance for doing cartwheels.
*Kiddieworks Aerobic Activities For Children By Judith Scott Caedmon, $8.98.
A solid rock beat that quickens and slows with the pulse rate, simple, clear instructions and the friendly "can do" manner of this veteran dance and physical fitness expert might tempt even sluggish youngsters to join in the healthy fun.
*Slim Goodbody: Volume I, The Inside Story Volume II, Inside Out Volume III, Galactic Health Adventure Caedmon, $8.98 each.
Television's Slim Goodbody uses every style of music including rock, jazz, folk and opera to give kids the inside story of the human body. These volumes are absolutely too good to miss.
*Chicken Fat: The Youth Fitness Song Words and music by Meredith Wilson Exercise routines by Gertrude Hallenbeck and Bob Kimble Kimbo, $2.95.
Martial music and a commanding tenor will have our youth answering the call to action in this rigorous but brief routine of touchdowns, push-ups, jumping, running and stretching exercises.
*Jump to the Beat: A Jump Rope Aerobics Thriller By Don Disney KIM $10.50.
With these choreographed routines, rope jumping becomes a dynamic alternative to traditional physical fitness programs.