sense of movement

Playground Fun, Learning & Kindergarten Readiness #2

Brains are wired to learn through sensory stimulation, and two important senses are movement and the sense of the body’s position in space. Yesterday’s post discussed the kindergarten readiness fun and learning that can happen on the playground in terms of ways the body moves. Today’s post is based on the body in space.

playground learning activitiesDecades ago there was a program on television called “Lost in Space”. Basically, that’s what babies are and they need to learn where in space their bodies are and where their body parts are in relation to each other. Toddlers and preschoolers are still learning this and need lots of experiences. Playgrounds are great places to explore all the ways a body can be in space. On the slide, the body is up and in less than a minute, it’s down. Sliding down fire pole is even faster for going from the top to the bottom. Bodies go back and forth in space on a swing. Hanging from the monkey bars is a way to explore being upside down. The feeling of space is very different at the top of the climber than it is down on the ground.

playground learning activitiesAt the playground, kids also get to try various combinations of body part togetherness. On the monkey bars hands are hanging down in the same position while on the climber one is up and one is down. That is the same case for feet. Walking on balance boards is especially challenging for body parts and body position. Before attempting the balance boards, kids can practice balancing and moving on benches. Most of the time, feet support and move the body in space, but at the playground hands can do that. Some playgrounds will have horizontal ladders or a series of rings where kids can swing across going from hand to hand.
Instead of being “Lost in Space” can your child be “Found at the Playground?”

Kindergarten Readiness And Other Olympic Moves

When it comes to kids and all kinds of brain connections, not just kindergarten readiness, moving is one of the most important activities for learning.  We all have 2 more senses: the sense of the body’s position in space and the sense of movement. Moving is one of the first ways that babies explore and interact with the world. The brain develops through moving thereby creating a learning foundation. Even learning language depends on A_child_jumpingmoving.

One thing about all the athletes at the Olympic Games, they sure do move. Did you see the routines on the trampolines today? The athletes were jumping higher than 2 story buildings! Now that needs a tremendous sense of the body’s position in relation to the trampoline mat and a sense of movement.

Physiucal activities are so important for kids too. If you can, encourage your child to explore different ways to move: twist, twirl, slide, glide, zoom, jump, hop, spin, roll, dance and more. We may not all be Olympic athletes but we can have gold medal fun just moving and being active. What will and your child do for some movement fun and learning?

Kindergarten Readiness – Brains Are For Moving

While doing recent blog posts on using the 5 senses for kindergarten readiness and brain development, I learned that we can add 2 more. Besides taste, touch, smell, sight and hearing we have the senses of movement and of our body position in space. This sense of movement is tremendously important for all learning.

At the next presentation to a group of parents and caregivers about helping kids get ready for kindergarten, I could include this question:

Think of how we use exercise to build muscles and strong bodies. For kids to develop strong brains, would they need to:

a) move
b) solve problems that go from easy and get harder and harder, or
c) start early with flash cards, baby programs etc.

Would you have known the answer is a) kids need to move? On the surface, it seems that helping childbrain-developmentren learn to be calm, relaxed and still would be helpful for kindergarten readiness but “The most powerful tool for fostering the growth and development of neural connections in your child’s brain is physical movement.” (Moving Smart: Growing Your Child’s Brain) Both strong bodies and strong brains need movement.

Sally at Fairy Dust Teaching explains it this way,  “Developing this sense a child learns to: sit, push, crawl, stand, the ability to walk upright and speak the mother tongue. The development of thinking is interwoven in motor development.” Yes, you read that right; to learn to use language kids need the brain connections formed through moving. WOW, no wonder kids move so much even in sleep. It’s the fuel for their brains for all kinds of learning.

Today is either a regular Monday or a long-weekend Monday, depending on your location — it’s Victoria Day in Canada. Whichever one it is for you and your family, include some moving around time. Maybe, some climbing, riding, and swinging at the playground, running in the park, chasing in the backyard, action songs in the house, jumping on a mat, or rolling in the grass time? What will you and your child do this moving Monday to help develop strong, healthy bodies and strong, healthy brains for kindergarten readiness and later, too?