Kids have to move. No surprise to parents or caregivers. Play with toys can’t compete with play with movement activities. And so, kids will play by moving their bodies.
Why is movement so necessary? The brain doesn’t finish growing before birth or the head would be too big for the available space. It especially doesn’t finish learning. As a matter of fact, the brain is even learning HOW to learn. Moving creates connections in the brain. These neural pathways and connections form the basis for language, thinking, and more. Muscles also need the movement and resistance so they grow and strengthen.
Here’s a quick example. When babies are learning to pull themselves along and to crawl, they first start with rocking on two hands. They can’t cover any distance until they use only one hand and then the other. The brain has to learn to alternate left, right and then sequence that together. Over and over, in the same way, making a pattern. Math and language use sequence and patterns. Relationships also use this pattern, give and take. Brains and bodies together.
I know we sometimes wish kids would be still. To support them, we need to give kids a time and space to be active and engage in whole body play. This might be a hallway, a mat on the floor with a step for jumping, chairs and coffee tables to crawl under, and a clear space for turning in circles.
When we take kids to playgrounds and parks, they will challenge themselves and explore different ways they can move, bend, stretch, climb, jump, twirl, roll, tumble, and balance. They will even do this in parking lots and stores, not only proving that kids will play with anything but that they will also play anywhere.Certainly there are toys and programs we can get for kids to support their play with movement activities. But we also need to give them space and opportunities. Is there an idea here you can use for a play on the move and a child on the go?