Physical Development

How to Steal a March #3: Movement Activities Build Brain Power

March is a great month because it urges action and movement activities build brain power. Just in case you didn’t know or you need a reminder, kids love to move and be active. More than that, they absolutely need to. Vigorous exercise is great not only for bodies but also brains, building pathways and connections for thinking.

planet playground fun

1, 2,3 Whee, what can your child’s day include? Some time in the playground invites climbing, running, swinging, sliding and more. A ball and a backyard or other space is perfect for throwing, kicking, and chasing around. This can be done in the rain even with rubber boots. A walk around the block invites balancing on low fences and walls. Is there a skating rink or swimming pool in your neighborhood? Movement activities outside include the benefits of sun and fresh air. balance activities for kids

For inside, it sure would be nice if gyms were available in neighborhoods but communities sometimes have gym space available for parent and tot programs. In some houses, a big open space isn’t part of the design. A hallway is often overlooked but it can work. Foam mats are quite inexpensive and kids can do a variety of exercises as well, as moving how they want.  Inside movement activities sometimes challenge us to be more creative. Turn the kitchen chairs upside down and let kids crawl underneath. Two or three of them in a row make a fun tunnel for crawling or slithering. Put on some music or a dance video and both you and your child can enjoy some movin’ and groovin’.movement activities

The expression, “stealing a march on someone,” means to gain an advantage. Movement activities build brain power. By making sure to include some form of vigorous physical activity everyday, your child can “steal a march.” What will your movement play be today?

 

March Action Sequence Fun Game for Kids

March is such a great month because it’s name is action and kids love to be active, so today’s play idea is a March action sequence fun game for kids.

Vigorous physical activity is needed for both body and brain development. This game can happen spontaneously and build on whatever your child is doing. When you notice your little one zipping around you can connect and say, “I see you are running, (or whatever it is your child is doing). Next, can you try hopping?”Easter active body play

After a bit of hopping, you may suggest another action, “After those, could you try some jumping?” Go thru a whole selection such as hop, skip, crawl, jump, roll, slide, swim, fly, slither, etc. When kids–or you–seem to need a break, you can finish off with, “How about some hugging?” You can tailor the number of actions to your child’s need and energy, and also yours. Sitting is an action too.
The whole idea of sequence is pretty tricky for kids. We’ve often heard kids get mixed up about who did what first or who was playing with something first. The explanation “I was playing with that first,” may be referring to something just a few minutes ago or yesterday. Not only are kids trying to figure out the order of events but they are also trying to clear up this fuzzy concept of time.

whole body play
Using this action game, make it a little more challenging and give your child two or three to do in a row, such as “March first, then hop, and last roll. And do it again: march first, then hop, and last roll.” This helps practice doing things in a sequence. Some kids can only cope with 2 actions, some may be able to do 3 or 4. It’s okay if everybody gets mixed up, it makes for giggles. Kids also like to tell grownups 2 or 3 things to do in a row. Do the sequence a few times and then get really confused. Days need more laughter.

This March action sequence fun game isn’t just for kids. Maybe it’s great for adults too?

Dragon Movement Activities with Moats (Hula Hoops & Mini-Trampolines)

These dragon movement activities sort of take us full circle back to the beginning of the month when we started our dinovember dragon fun and learning. No warm-up needed but get dragon roars ready. Little Sister is using her dragon cape but dress-up isn’t needed either.dragon dress-up pretend play

What shape is a moat? Well, no matter its shape, it encircles a castle. A hula hoop encircles the body so is it a kind of moat? In a space where the hula hoop won’t knock anything—or anyone—over, let your child try it out. Do you remember how to make a hula hoop go around and around?

The video above shows a little one having as much fun with the hula hoop flat and still on the floor as his sister had when she was spinning it. The video below explains the trick: hips do not move around in a circle; instead, they go back and forth. It helps to practice rocking the body to get the idea.

If the weather is cooperative, as in not too cold and wet, kids can take the hula hoop outside. Kids can simply explore all the ways they can move with a hula hoop. They can hold it out front like a steering wheel and run around the yard. With the hoop flat on the ground, they can jump in and out. If the hop isn’t too big, kids might try to jump right over it. Running around the hula hoop and getting dizzy is another movement activity. Dragons might want to roar at the same time.movement activities

Some of this can be done inside, like jumping in and out of the hoop. Dragons and dance both start with the letter d and the sound ‘duh’ so turn on some music for kids to dance. Dancing can be done inside the hula hoop moat or outside it. Especially if the weather means more time inside and less time outside, it’s important for kids to be able to move their bodies and wear off some exercise.

whole body play

Mini-trampolines and rebounders are also round. They have a sort of moat or ring around the outside edge but the middle is great for movement fun. Jumping up is super exercise to strengthen the skeleton. Kids also like to jump off and on. Can you think of some other dragon movement activities?

Dragon Playground Activities Inspired by The Paper Bag Princess

The children’s book, The Paper Bag Princess, by Robert Munsch inspires some dragon playground activities for kids and dragons for today’s play-of-the-day. Dragons can sleep for years and years but they also travel great distances. In this story, a dragon burns all of Princess Elizabeth’s clothes and captures her Prince Ronald. All she has left … Continue reading Dragon Playground Activities Inspired by The Paper Bag Princess

Autumn Activities and Movement Fun #5: Fall Yoga for Kids

Today’s play-of-the-day is some fall yoga for kids. No matter the season, kids absolutely need to move, not only for bodies but for brains too. Movement activities can include vigorous whole body ones like going to the playground, racing around in the yard, jumping on a mat in the living room, or running up and … Continue reading Autumn Activities and Movement Fun #5: Fall Yoga for Kids

Kids Movement Activities for the Gold – Olympic Games #7

Watching Simone Biles’ gold-medal gymnastic floor performance was inspiring. For a play-of-the-day kids movement activities get the gold. As a young child, Simone Biles apparently liked to jump off the furniture and do flips, despite reminders the house wasn’t a playground. How many of us say the same thing? Later, Aimee Boorman one of her … Continue reading Kids Movement Activities for the Gold – Olympic Games #7

Olympic Games #6: Benefits of Playing Soccer for Kids

Soccer matches started even before the Opening Ceremony, kicking off the Games. Did you know there are some great benefits of playing soccer for kids? Getting to the Olympics as a team member has been an incredible journey of sacrifice and dedication. Where did that journey start? If you read the bios of some of … Continue reading Olympic Games #6: Benefits of Playing Soccer for Kids

The Value of Sports for Kids – 1, 2, 3, Let’s PLAY !

During a radio interview, an Olympic athlete talked about the value of sports for kids, not it terms of competition but participation. Playing sports is a way to play. The list of reasons why sports is beneficial for kids is a long one. One of the most obvious is the physical activity. Kids love and … Continue reading The Value of Sports for Kids – 1, 2, 3, Let’s PLAY !

Space Activities #19: Space Yoga for Kids

Space yoga for kids combines yoga and imagination to give both young, developing bodies and brains some stimulation. Together, it’s out of this world. Outer space is full of stars. Our sun is a giant star. An easy yoga pose is the star pose. Kids stand with legs apart and arms outstretched. Two hands, two … Continue reading Space Activities #19: Space Yoga for Kids

Space Activities #15: Planet Playground Fun

The cloudy weather cleared up and the sun came out so we headed outside for some Planet Playground fun. This can happen at any playground in most weather, but warmer days often mean more time outdoors. Since we’d been talking of outer space with the Jupiter probe Juno and the anniversary of the landing on … Continue reading Space Activities #15: Planet Playground Fun