importance of movement

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?


What Makes Summer Magical for Kids? Movement Fun!

Movement Activities Are Magical

Summer is here and to all of us, play takes on a new dimension. Each season has its own highlights but summer means more time to be outside. For many families, one way to be outside is to go camping.

importance of physicl activity for kidsCamping reduces our “house” to the size of a bedroom, but sure increases the size of our yard! it seems like an amazing trade off. While adults like camping because they get a chance to sit and relax, kids like camping because there are so many opportunities to be on the go and active all day long. Just think of all the packing, carrying and hauling, into and out of the car. Then, there’s all the bending and lifting. Once at the site, there might be swimming, climbing, hiking, running, digging, pushing, pulling, tugging, playing in playgrounds, and more.

Big Sister and Little Sister, and all the other kids there, discovered a hill at the weekend’s camp spot. The favorite activity was rolling down the hill. They all had their own styles and preferences. Little Sister, being barely 3, would roll a few times, stop, look around, and roll some more. She seemed to go down at an angle and would sometimes roll across the hill. Big Sister, being 5, somersaulted down the hill. It certainly looked more challenging and riskier.

During the early years, children’s bodies are growing and developing, and that includes figuring out all the ways that bodies can move. Kids practice their muscle skills by being active. Movement and physical activities make important brain connections for learning such things as math and language. Generally, physical development is assessed as a part of kindergarten readiness. All children’s preschool programs will include time in a day for movement fun.

What makes summer magical for kids? Being able to run, jump, roll, swing, climb, and more. At home or away, for a play-of-the-day, are there some ways that your child can move and be active?

Kids Connect to Sports, Sports Connect to Super Bowl

Kids connect to sports, sports connect to the Super Bowl and to one child in particular. If you have been watching trending videos this week, you may have seen the one about the 12 year old boy with a heart condition that means contact sports could be life-threatening for him. But he loves football and shares that love with his dad. His wish was to meet his favorite team, the Seattle Seahawks, with his dad and that wish came true. Although, his dad has gone back to his job in the Middle East, Kevin Lee will be at the Super Bowl, in full cheer.

photo by Lisa Runnels (greyerbaby)
photo by Lisa Runnels (greyerbaby)

Why do children connect so strongly to a team? For some adults, watching a game is like the endless Groundhog Day in the movie. Not so for kids. Even preschoolers have favorites. They will know names, numbers, and team colors. It could be the excitement and the noise that attracts kids but it’s quite likely the action and the movement. Did you know movement is of critical importance in early learning and development?

Children need to move in order to learn. In their book, Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul, Dr. Stuart Brown and Christopher Vaughan write: “Movement play lights up the brain, and fosters learning, innovation, flexibility, adaptability, and resilience.” That’s a lot of yardage gained from moving and grooving. Movement activities create pathways in the brain for learning language, math, and reading. Vigorous, active play promotes all kinds of kindergarten readiness skills and strategies.

In the spirit of the Super Bowl, enjoy some movement play with your child this weekend. You may want to play throw and catch with a ball, or just run around. Kids love to create their own games. You can celebrate the fun and learning no matter which team wins. By the way, which team (or teams) are you and your family cheering for?

Kindergarten Readiness As Easy As 1 2 3 … #3

In this brand new year, will your child be starting kindergarten? Are you asking, “Will my child be ready for kindergarten?” “What is kindergarten readiness anyway?” Could you use some answers? This is a series of posts that looks at some of the basics of getting your child ready to start kindergarten. So far, two … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness As Easy As 1 2 3 … #3

Kindergarten Readiness Connects to Bones

Do you remember that song about the leg bone connected to the knee bone? It’s inspired today’s post about how movement is another connection for kindergarten readiness. Movement activities are not just important for healthy development of children’s bodies, but also for brains. Moving is one of the strategies that the brain uses for creating … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness Connects to Bones

Kindergarten Readiness ABC`s – S is for Space

Kindergarten readiness needs lots of space–the kind that kids need for moving around, spreading out their toys, and that we don’t seem to have enough of in the house. Especially when the weather means the kids can’t go outside. Children’s physical development is important for bodies and it also important for brains. As babies figure … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness ABC`s – S is for Space

Kindergarten Readiness ABC`s – A is for Action not Academics

When you think of helping your child with kindergarten readiness would your first thought be “Academics”? While we used to believe that children who struggled in school needed academic preparation before starting kindergarten, more recent studies are showing that readiness is a much broader package. Readiness needs to be age appropriate, based on development and … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness ABC`s – A is for Action not Academics

Kindergarten Readiness and Early Learning Basics – Movement

Parents and caregivers often ask what young children need to know before kindergarten; this is the third in a series of blog posts on kindergarten readiness and early learning basics. No matter the age of your little one, this will give you a general picture of what to do as your child’s very first teacher. … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness and Early Learning Basics – Movement