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 the moon, it didn’t take much stretch of the imagination to turn a tube at the playground into a rocket. It’s too bad there isn’t a circle cut out anywhere on the tube so kids can see out, but they can certainly be heard counting down. A gear section on the outside served as the rocket launch controls. Little Sister ran from one to the other and then back again after each blast off.
Big Sister came over to play too and they begged to have their photo taken. The easiest way to take a picture was from inside but with no room to back up, it’s a sort of bird’s-eye view of our feet. This time, the spaceship landed on a new planet and the kids made up different kinds of games as they explored all around.
Time on the playground is certainly beneficial for bodies. Kids strengthen their large muscles as they climb, run, balance, wiggle, jump, swing, and engage in other actions. It’s also helpful for brains. To develop coordination requires the brain and body to communicate and work together. On the playground, kids challenge themselves to climb a little bit higher, stretch a little bit farther, and jump a little bit longer. Sometimes, we can see them preparing their body for an action as they get brains and bodies in sync.
- Do you know how to organize a space party? A. You planet.
When it comes to what kids learn on a playground, we can’t “planet” but we can know fun and play is one of the best ways to learn. Can you organize some space in the day for planet playground fun for your child?
No need to go into orbit for this planet movement activity fun, kids can do it right at home. They will need a space for moving and a flat space ship.
Space ships aren’t usually flat, like magic carpets, but kids need something they can get into and out of, or on and off easily. The idea of this game is to count down, blast off and travel to a whole series of different planets for a variety of ways to move. This is how Little Sister played:
Little Sister put together some foam mat squares to be her space transport. She got into her space gymnastic suit and counted down. After blasting off, she pretended her space ship zoomed in space and then landed. The first planet where she stopped was the Jumping Planet so she got out and jumped around a few times. Then, it was back in the space ship, count down, blast off, and zooming some more. The second planet was the Crawl Planet, so she could only move by crawling. After some time on that planet, it was time to do the whole sequence and land on another planet again. Planet #3 was the Swim Planet, which meant stretched out on the floor with arms and legs spread out in order to move by swimming motions.
Leaving the Swim Planet required a modification of blast off position. She stretched out on her space ship so she could swim away. The next planet was the Hop On One Foot Planet. Her visit there wasn’t too long. At this point, I was no longer needed to suggest a kind of movement activity. She thought of a few herself, such as the Twirling Planet and the Walk Like A Robot Planet.
We know from experience that kids move all the time, but might not know why. Movement activities support the brain to make connections used for thinking. Kids need to move, not just for body development but for brain development too. Muscles need strengthening and coordination requires a tremendous amount of brain activity. A game, like this planet movement activity fun, is a great way to encourage kids to move. What planets will your child land on?
For more outer space or down-to-earth activities, land on the blog or play-of-the-day tabs. Welcome to Planet Play!
Yesterday was International Yoga Day which inspired a transportation yoga play-of-the-day for kids. Even if neither of you have done yoga before.
These are some simple yoga poses suggested by a yoga teacher and preschool educator.:
Car: Kids sit on the floor with their legs straight out in front of them. Before driving, they buckle their seat belts, and put their hands on an imaginary steering wheel. They can honk the horn and go through a tunnel, leaning forward to grab their feet and be tucked in.
Bicycle: Lie down on the floor with feet and legs pointing up to the sky. Legs go up and down just like pedaling a bike. Bike fast for going downhill and slow when you have to push really hard to get up the hill.
If there are two of you, sit facing each other with knees bent. Touch feet together and then lie down. Can you pedal together? This really takes coordination of two bodies and two brains.
Airplane: This is pretty tricky. Balance on one leg and stick the other leg straight out behind. Spread arms like airplane wings. Lean forward and see if you can make your back flat. Switch legs and try to balance on the other one.
Yoga is not just for experts. It’s for bodies and brains. We all know that kids are constantly on the move, but do you know why? Movement activities not only strengthen muscles but also coordination, and coordination is how bodies and brains work together. Balance and flexibility are key elements of yoga. Even if yoga is difficult at first for kids, they will improve and feel a sense of accomplishment when they do, boosting their self-esteem and confidence.
In the article, Yoga for Kids, Sherry LeBlanc writes, yoga can “give our children the opportunity to develop a supple healthy body, to lessen anxiety and to stimulate creative thinking and intellectual growth.” Will transportation yoga take your child places?
How do cars and trucks go? Zoom, zoom. How do kids go? They go zoom, zoom too and more with these transportation movement activities. Kids will often zoom around like cars and trucks complete with sound effects. We can add in a few ideas to extend their movement play. How would an airplane go? Kids … Continue reading Transportation Play #9: Transportation Movement Activities
Usually we don’t have to encourage kids to move around and be active. For both moving and stopping, kids can play a Red, Yellow, Green Light game. The rules of this game are very simple and easy to remember. They are like traffic lights. Red signals a stop, green means it’s okay to run around … Continue reading Transportation Play Activities #3: Red, Yellow, Green Light Game
We can give kids the most costly toys for presents, and they still end up playing with the box and wrapping. Here’s a new dance—the bubble wrap stomp. A parcel came to our house with bubble wrap. And what’s the most fun? Popping all those bubbles of course. Little Sister spend a good chunk of the … Continue reading Bubble Fun and Learning # 17: Bubble Wrap Stomp
Chasing bubbles outside is the best fun, but here are some bubble movement activities and game that kids can do indoors or out, in almost any size space. For some independent movement activity play, turn on some music and let your child dance around like bubbles. Of course, they need to have experienced blowing bubbles … Continue reading Play Learn with Bubbles #8: Bubble Movement Activities and Game
Ants and Kids Go Marching March fourth is a unique day on the calendar; it can also be an action, to march forth. Marching around can inspire some movement activities for kids. To start some movement play, you and your child can think of different ways to move around besides marching. There’s walking, running, hopping, … Continue reading Movement Activities for Kids – No Matter the Date
There’s nothing like sun to encourage vigorous active play and that’s how L loves to play. Movement and whole body play are his play valentine. A happy, busy 3 year old, L likes to move. His outside trampoline gets almost daily use, when weather permits, as he jumps and runs. He sometimes chooses a ball … Continue reading Vigorous Active Play – Ways Children Play #4
For some word play, how about Yoga with Yoda? This Star Wars Yoga for kids can be play for any and all characters. Maybe Yoga could have helped Darth Vader with his breathing. Kids absolutely need to move. As kids make the brain connections so they can move in a certain way, they are wiring … Continue reading Star Wars Yoga for Kids