Wednesday, May 2, 2012

20 Fun Ways to Get Children Moving
17th February, 2012

From Head Start Body Start National Center for Physical Development and Outdoor Play

Physical activity is not just good for their bodies — for young children it is an important component of early brain development and learning. When adults model and teach the importance of physical activity, young children are more likely to adopt a lifetime of healthful practices and behaviors.

And how do we do that?  Through active play, of course! 

20 Fun Ways to Get Children Moving:

  1. Practice spelling out the alphabet with your arms, using big motions. Then, try it with your feet!
  2. Have a wheeled toy rodeo! Get out the wagons, push toys and tricycles and set up rodeo events — like weaving through cones and following chalk pathways.
  3. Slide down a hill on a big piece of cardboard or push and pull friends around while they sit in a cardboard box.
  4. Break out the pool noodles and play “Bumper Cars” — hold one end of the pool noodle in each hand, forming a U shape in front of you. Move around the track, bumping into other “cars”. Once cars bump, they have to jump five times before they can start again.
  5. Add some hay bales to your play space. Not only do these look great, but the children can work together to move them around the play space. They will love having something new to climb over, sit on, jump off and more.
  6. Play Throwing and/or Kicking Golf! Using either throwing over hand, under hand, or kicking – pick a target (i.e., mailbox, a tree, a light pole, the corner of the house); you can either share a ball or each have your own ball. The goal is to take turns throwing or kicking the ball toward the target just like in golf. Use different locomotor movements to travel to the object each time. Keep track of the number of kicks/throws it takes to the target.
  7. Spread paper plates on the ground. Pretend they are rocks in a stream. Get from one side to the other without stepping in the stream.
  8. Work on moving in different ways. Go outside and practice walking, running, galloping, skipping, jumping and hopping.
  9. Time to march! Pretend to have your favorite instrument and march as you play. Can someone guess what instrument you are playing? Bring real instruments outside and march in a band with friends.
  10. Rainbow Run- talk about the colors of the rainbow as you name colors, run & touch 3 things that are that color.
  11. Go for a walk. Breath in the air as you swing your arms and hold your head high. First go in straight lines, then curvy lines, and then try walking backwards.
  12. Get outside and practice running. When you are running work on pumping your arms front and back and moving in a straight line.
  13. Set up an obstacle course using things to jump over, go around, and even under. See how fast you can do it.
  14. Find an open space and work on rolling in different ways…long, straight body and a curled up small body. Rolling down a hill is fun!
  15. Blow bubbles outdoors. Chase and catch the bubble before it pops. If it’s winter, you may even be able to freeze the bubbles!
  16. Pretend you are at a zoo. Identify an animal. then move and make sounds like that animal. ROAR!
  17. Pretend to be a growing flower. First you are a tiny seed in the ground and then grow into a big flower.
  18. Pretend to be a balloon – first without air, being blown up, floating around, and then being popped.
  19. Act like the weather! Use your body to pretend to be different types of weather. Rain, wind, thunder, snow…get creative.
  20. Pretend to move like different foods- melt like a popsicle or pop like popcorn

Whatever you do, have fun and let the children see that you enjoy moving, too! Unplugged, creative and active play is the cornerstone of a happy, healthy childhood.

Get silly and get going: it’s good for your body, mind and spirit!

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