This calendar for the month of A-pril comes with a-play for each day. Print it off and then enjoy the play-of-the-day. A-ctivities can be changed and rearranged as needed. Best of all, with play there is no test at the end (chuckle, chuckle). Play supports all kinds of early learning and development.
With all the excitement, kids need some active fun Christmas Games to channel their energy. Use these ideas and add your own for outside and inside play.
- Follow Rudolph: This is a dress for the weather and spend time outdoors game. Kids take turns being Rudolph and leading the rest of the reindeer around the yard or playground. Of course, reindeer don’t usually climb the ladders and slide down the slides at the playground but this doesn’t matter to kids. At home, in a yard without any obstacles to go around, kids can spread their arms and fly, shuffle like a penguin, walk like a big polar bear, and use other actions. If there’s snow on the ground, kids can make paths that zig-zag for following Rudolph all around. They will have their own ideas for ways to play this version of Follow the Leader.
- Where is the Candy Cane? Either outside or inside, one person hides a candy cane and one or more elves find it. This can be a simple hide and seek, or kids can give clues. Warmer means getting closer to where it’s hidden. If the hider says “Colder” you are getting farther away.
- Santa Says: Like the game Simon Says, but it’s Santa that gives the instructions. To get everyone in shape for their big night, Santa might have a whole list of exercises, like jump 5 times, fly around, or balance on a very, very, very small roof. Each command needs to start with the words “Santa says…” If Santa doesn’t say them, kids don’t do that action. This is pretty tricky for little ones and they have to listen carefully. They just like to do the actions.
Santa can give other instructions like “Go touch something white.”He can also be helpful, “Go pick up 4 toys on the floor and put them on the shelf.” This makes tasks that kids don’t much like to do into more active fun Christmas games.
- Gingerbread Man: The gingerbread man game needs a long hallway or a clear path across a room. Usually, the gingerbread man runs as fast as he can, but he could also hop, hop as fast as he can, or shuffle, shuffle, or walk on all fours.
- I Spy: A less active game, this can be played anywhere, especially when waiting in line or sitting in a car or bus. One person chooses an object that everyone can see, and the other people playing try and guess what it is. For this game, you can use colors, as in I spy something red, or use shapes, like I spy something round. Giving clues isn’t easy for kids, but they quite like when adults guess silly things.
- Can the Elf Help? There is another one called Can the Elf Help. Any available elf helps vacuum or dust or put away clean laundry.This can be just as much fun as the others, especially if all the elves get to share some Christmas cookies when done.
Can you and your child think of some other active fun Christmas games?
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 to wear is a paper bag. Elizabeth confronts this smart and fierce dragon and challenges him into showing off and performing some amazing feats. The dragon wears himself out and falls fast asleep. Elizabeth frees Ronald but instead of being grateful to be rescued, Prince Ronald objects to Elizabeth’s dirty, smoky appearance and demands she wash and change so she doesn’t marry him after all.
Like the dragon, kids can do amazing feats. They may not burn forests and fly around the world but they can run, climb, hop, jump, swing, balance, and more. One place for a number of movement activities is at the playground. Is there a playground or other available space in your neighborhood?
For a play-of-the-day, kids can dress for the weather and spend some time outside at a park or playground. Kids absolutely need to spend a good portion of their day in vigorous, physical activities. This isn’t just for bodies, it’s also for brains. As kids figure out the sequences and ways to move their bodies, they are wiring their brains. These connections and pathways are used as the basis for language, math, and other thinking.
Movement is vital for learning. Much research is now showing that kids need more time to be physically active. Many schools are finding ways to increase recess time for kids. Preschools and daycares include a good chunk of outside time in their daily routine. The most sensitive time for brain development is before the age of 5 so making sure kids have the opportunities to play with their whole bodies is critical. Can you take your dragon outside for some whole body movement play and some dragon playground activities?
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
Just in time for Father’s Day, there is a super article on how dads and kids play plus, I had the privilege of talking with a single dad about play. Play is so natural that even animals do it, but there is always something new about play. We can learn so much about and from … Continue reading How Dads and Kids Play
Active Body Play is an Easter Treat for Young Bodies and Minds Easter fun for kids isn’t limited to eggs and crafts. Kids learn ‘on the go’ and when they are moving so they need to have some Easter active body play. One of the obvious ways to have some active and whole body play … Continue reading Easter Active Body Play and Fun
Spending Time in Active and Physical Play: There’s a saying that it’s the little things that count and the littlest would be kids. To them, spending time is what counts, not our expertise. That’s good news for other parents and caregivers that are like me, that is athletically challenged. Games like giddy-up, chase and catch, … Continue reading Part Three: To a Child, Love is Spelled T I M E
Series Part #9: Helping Kids Get Ready for Kindergarten Includes Movement Activities Did you know that running, walking, hopping, jumping and other ways that kids move can help them get ready to start school? After all, kids learn ‘on the move’. As adults, we only need to be stuck in an airplane seat for a … Continue reading Run, Walk, Hop, Jump, Skip, and Slide to Kindergarten