importance of physical activities

Word Cup Soccer for Kids–Outdoors and Indoors Too

Kids seem to be on the move and physically active all the time, but as parents and caregivers we still need to find ways to encourage and support vigorous movement activities. Vigorous physical play is important for early learning and development and for kindergarten and school readiness too.

soccer fun and learning activitiesWith hotly contested games at practically any hour, kids may be getting excited as well as adults. Using almost anything they can kick, kids can go outdoors for their own soccer fun.This could be in a fenced yard, the park, playground or neighborhood school field, if it’s not a school day.

But on rainy and inside days, children still need to be active and have an outlet for their energy. Kicking a ball in the house is a no-no; even a soft nerf ball can topple a lamp or a knock something breakable onto the floor. There’s no problem though with being the ball.

soccer fun and learning activitiesTo play the game “I Am The Soccer Ball”, kids need to get down on the ground, that is down on the floor. The grownup gets to be the voice of the announcer and call the play, and kids get to be the ball and move all around. “And the soccer ball is now moving (crawling) around the coffee table, then it is zooming down the hall still on the ground.”

A kitchen chair transforms into the goal and can be moved but the other furniture can stay in place. If a rest is needed, the soccer ball can “…crawl right under the kitchen table where it stops.” That must be the signal for a break. Halftime could be snack and a drink of water.

Playing “I Am The Soccer Ball” on the floor is fun, besides being a whole body physical activity. Does this sound like a game your child would like to play?

Wear Red Day and Other Colors for Olympics

Today is Wear Red Day, reminding us to take care of our hearts as part of good health, and it is also the Opening Ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics. That seems to be quite fitting, underlining many important reasons for including sports in our lives and our children’s–physical, mental and emotional.

benefits of vigorous physical activity for kindergarten readinessWe all know that physical activity is necessary for healthy bodies. It’s also required for brains. Much of children’s learning and development needs movement to build the pathways for language, math, and other skills. Participating in sports is one way to enjoy vigorous physical activities. Some team sports, such as little kickers soccer, are available for preschool children, but there are different opportunities such as swimming, skating, hiking, and others that support kindergarten readiness. We don’t call Going-To-The-Playground a sport, but for young children, it could be.

Sports help with another connection, that of one heart to another. Even in individual sports, there are ways to get together. Part of the Olympics is certainly getting to meet people from around the world. Many sports teams and athletes mention the role of their fans. In practically any activity, children will be interacting with kids and other adults, learning and practicing social skills. Having a social support group is an essential part of good physical, mental, and emotional health for all of us.

Kids and grownups might be wearing red today or blue, yellow, black, or green, or some variation of them. No matter what color clothes are, for healthy bodies, minds, and hearts, can you include some physical activity time for your child, for fun and learning?

Kindergarten Readiness Fun with Sock “Snowballs”

Are there some socks missing their mates at your house? Give them a new purpose that’s fun and supports active play, early learning, and kindergarten readiness at the same time. Thanks to Rebekah and kids, at The Golden Gleam, for this fabulous idea.sock-snowballs-physical-activity

Using a basket of socks without mates, the colored ones were rolled inside, and the white ones on the outside. These made balls that with an abracadabra became sock snowballs. In the hallway these could be safely tossed, juggled, aimed in the block bucket minus the blocks, balanced on the head and other body parts, and tossed into the laundry basket in the closet. Lots of activity for little bodies. Little Sister just liked throwing and running, but Big Sister made some rules and played a few games that she created.

Active play is essential to early learning and development, not just for bodies but for brains too. Did you know that we have two more body senses, one for the position of the body in space and one for movement? Movement is one of the tools that the body uses to create wiring in the brain for all kinds of learning. Maybe this primal need to move is why kids seem to come with so much energy. Mother Nature built in a drive to wiggle, squirm, climb, run, jump, hop, etc. so the body and brain can get lots of practice working together.

It is not always easy to have the time in a day and space for kids to enjoy vigorous physical activity. The weather does not always cooperate, either. An activity like this, that uses minimal material and preparation, and gives maximum fun is ideal. The early years are the best window-of-opportunity for gross motor development, that is using the large muscles in the body. These sock snowballs will not melt, so they can be used many times for lots of fun, learning, and kindergarten readiness. Are there some socks at your house that your child can use?

Kindergarten Readiness, Young Children, and Sports

Recently, some friends posted a photo of their two-year old in her soccer t-shirt and number. While young children are not ready for all aspects of organized sports, some activities can be part of early childhood development and kindergarten readiness. Sports are one way of connecting kids to fun and learning. Young children need lots … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness, Young Children, and Sports

Kindergarten Readiness – Conversations with Guest Experts #6

For each radio show on Learn and Play with Mrs A, I take notes because I’m learning so much about kids and kindergarten readiness from fascinating guests who are experts in a variety of areas. Each of them is passionate about kids and loves the work, or maybe that’s play? Here’s a play-of-the-day suggested from … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Conversations with Guest Experts #6