Physical Development

Vigorous Active Play – Ways Children Play #4

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.

vigorous active playA 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 and kicks it around inside the safety net at the sides. Trying to catch bubbles is another favorite game as an adult blow bubbles his way. He flexes his knees and jumps as high as he can to reach the bubbles before they disappear or float away on the wind. Can’t see him in the photo? We’re just waiting for the rain to dry.

For inside, L likes his round jumping space. This is a much smaller version of a trampoline. It’s set up in the living/dining room at his house, close to sofa. L can jump for a few minutes whenever he likes. He proudly announces, “I jump high. I jump far.”

whole body play

He also says, “I go fast, fast.” Not surprisingly, L enjoys going fast on his bike. He’s learning to balance on his new scooter that he just got for his third birthday. A wagon is for pulling behind as he goes for a walk. Close to home, there’s a path down a hill to the edge of a lake where L can throw rocks in the water.

whold body play

When L does slow down for a story or a cuddle, he loves blanket mountains. These are lots of thick, soft blankets spread over him to be heavy and cozy.

Movement activities and what he can do with his body are important for L. When he’s happy, L gives big hugs and kisses. When he’s sad, besides his tears, his body shakes with sobs. Already at this age, those around him can see he will need to be in a career where he moves and uses his muscles. His love and need for vigorous active play and whole body activities give definite clues. Isn’t it fascinating to see the different ways children play and how they express who they are as they play?

Star Wars Yoga for Kids

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.

star wars movement activities for kidsKids absolutely need to move. As kids make the brain connections so they can move in a certain way, they are wiring their own brains for different thinking, like math, reading, and language. To do this needs an enormous amount of practice and repetition. It really helps if we can give kids lots of ways to move. These poses are fun to try.

Star: (Star Pose)This one is easy, with the whole body stretching in all directions. The arms stretched wide give lots of room for breathing and feeling.

C3PO and R2D2: (Mountain Pose) Standing with big toes touching and a little space between heels. Arms are down at side and turn the palm of hand to the front. It might look like you are doing nothing, but your body is very busy balancing. Just like C3PO and R2D2, there’s a lot happening inside. Your heart and chest are lifting and strong as your shoulders relax down.

yoga for kidsPrincess Leia or a Warrior: (Downward Dog Pose) Hands and feet are on the floor, like an upside down V, sitting bones pointing up to the sky. Leia is a warrior besides being a princess, think about how strong and powerful you can be while holding your own weight and breathing.

yoga for kidsObi-Wan Kenobi aka Ben Kenobi: (Tree Pose) Obi-wan is old and wise like a tree, straight and true. Stand on two feet and lift arms over the head, with palms together. If you can, lift up one foot, bend your leg and place that foot on your other leg, beside or above the knee.

The ideal is for parents and caregivers to do yoga too. There are also benefits for adults. It doesn’t have to be Star Wars yoga for kids. It could be other characters or events that appeal to your child.  Do you and your child add yoga to your day?

Star Wars Movement Activities for Kids

For a star play-of-the-day, kids need to be physically active so here are are some Star Wars movement activities for kids.

Pinterest and FB are full of wonderful Star Wars crafts, games, and more for kids, if you have time to set it up, organize all the bits and pieces, and direct the activity. Yes, these activities can be fun, but is it really play? Play involves a self-directed factor, letting go of our own expectations and allowing kids to explore and create.

star wars movement activities for kidsJust in case this sounds hypocritical, these movement activities are suggestions to give kids, an idea that they can continue for themselves adapting it to how they want to play. There’s one for inside the house and one outside. And you won’t need to spend more time organizing than the kids spend playing.

importance of active play

Simon Says: We’ve seen kids playing Simon Says and likely remember playing it ourselves. To make this a Star Wars game, instead of Simon it can be The Jedi Says. Commands could be to walk like C3PO and to spin like R2D2. Talking and breathing like Darth Vader doesn’t involve much movement but pretending to have a light saber and waving it around does. Kids will make up their own ways to move and play together. There is still the rule kids only move if the instructions start “The Jedi Says” but the rest is how kids want to play. Adult involvement has been limited to a suggestion the game replace Simon with a Star Wars character and maybe some ways to move.

Star Wars Falcon pie plate craftAs a child, did you ever pretend you were flying? This Millennium Falcon made from a small pie plate and foil isn’t an accurate representation, but it’s enough for some backyard fun. Kids can fly, jump, and zoom around as they choose. The tape didn’t hold very well so we ended up using some staples but it’s small and light for little hands.

making the bed Days often include some work as well as play. When it’s time to move clean laundry to drawers, call for C3PO to come get it. How would R2D2 make a bed? You can get creative with other ideas for Star Wars movement activities for kids, or maybe that could be Star Ways?

Dinosaurs and Yoga for Universal Children’s Day

Dinosaurs and yoga are a rather unique way to celebrate Universal Children’s Day. In 1954 the UN established this day to promote children’s welfare. I know, we tend to think every day is children’s day, but in many places on the planet, children’s life is a struggle. But no matter where children live and their … Continue reading Dinosaurs and Yoga for Universal Children’s Day

Learn About Time for Kids: What Time is it Mr. Dinosaur

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Fall & Halloween: G is for Gross Motor Movement Fun

Fall and Halloween weather may mean some indoor days but there are still ways for young children to have some gross motor movement fun. Ways that are easy on furniture and bodies. Gross motor means movement activities that use the large muscles of the body like running, skipping, hopping, running, rolling, slithering, and more running. … Continue reading Fall & Halloween: G is for Gross Motor Movement Fun

Part Three: To a Child, Love is Spelled T I M E

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

10 New Year’s Resolutions with Young Children: #5 Routines

If there’s one new year’s resolution that fails first, it’s probably routines, because it seems so limiting, but routines are a form of security for kids and for adults. When leaving instructions for the sitter, parents try and make sure they have included the details about the routines. Kids feel more comfortable with the same … Continue reading 10 New Year’s Resolutions with Young Children: #5 Routines

10 New Year’s Resolutions with Young Kids: #4 Yoga Fun & Fit

Are fitness and exercise new year’s resolutions for you? How about for your child? Both of these are possible with yoga for kids, plus lots of fun. Yoga has tremendous health and wellness benefits for children and adults. You do not need to be a yoga instructor to do yoga with your child. There are … Continue reading 10 New Year’s Resolutions with Young Kids: #4 Yoga Fun & Fit