Movement is at the very core of how children develop intellectually, emotionally, socially, and of course, physically. Here at Moving Smart we foster children's naturally move-to-learn style while helping parents and teachers understand the comprehensive benefits of all that wiggling!

That's why we say "A Moving Child is a Learning Child."

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A KINETIC CHRISTMAS: Little Drummer Kids

Day 18
Little Drummer Kids

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We identify The Senses as the first of the six Physicalities on the Kinetic Scale. Of course, The Senses are the way in which the brain awakens to our world, and that's why, in my view, The Senses are the origins of all learning.

Experts stress the importance of providing rich, multi-sensory stimulation even from birth in order to insure optimal, neurological development of sensory processing and integration.

But of course, the definition of "stimulating" at 6 weeks vs. 6 months vs. 6 years varies greatly.

In our new book, A Moving Child Is a Learning Child, we introduce our  move-to-learn curriculum called Smart Steps. Together with my team, we developed the program to help teachers and parents plan active play and movement activities for optimal developmental impact.

The bedrock principle of Smart Steps is simple... respect the child standing in front of you, not the child he's suppose to be according to some milestone chart. And accomplishing that is simple too... "make the activity fit the child, not the child fit the activity."

We'll talk more about Smart Steps in the coming months here on the blog, but for today, here's a pa rum pum pum pum example of what I mean, from birth through preschool...

One of my favorite Christmas carols is Little Drummer Boy. It's a quiet song, gentle and soothing, yet percussive in nature, which inspires this sound-meets-touch progressional activity to help little ones better understand their sensory world...

BIRTH TO ROLLING OVER (Approximately 0-6 months)
TOUCH THE MUSIC. With baby in your lap, sing Little Drummer Boy (or any other soft, quiet song), and very gently pat baby's tummy each time you sing pa rum pum pum pum. Note: The physical sensation of the beat creates a three-way connection between baby, the music, and you.

ROLLING OVER TO CRAWLING (Approximately 6-14 months)
DRUMMER DRUMMER. Sit on the floor with baby between your legs. Introduce a toy drum or bongo (or an upside down container will do too). Sing a soft, quiet song and assist baby to tap the drum with his hands to the beat of the music. Note: Tapping the drum and hearing the sound gives baby a personal experience with cause and effect.

PULLING UP TO WALKING (Approximately 9-24 months)
BE THE DRUM. Sit on the floor facing baby. Sing the song and tap out the beat of the music on his feet and legs, hands and arms, tummy, and the top of his head. On "pa rum pum pum pum," assist baby to clap his hands together to the beat. Encourage him to try clapping on his own. Note: Engaging his whole body in the music fuels a deeper and more integrated understanding of his sensory world.

RUNNING TO JUMPING (Approximately 20-42 months)
DIFFERENT DRUMMER. Give your child a drum (or any upside down container) and a variety of implements to act as drumsticks such as sticks, spoons, brushes, etc. As you sing, encourage him to explore different ways to make the drum sound. Note: Explore different ways to do something opens up the door to imaginative possibilities.

BALANCING TO GALLOPING (Approximately 36-48 months)
MISSING DRUMS. Sing Little Drummer Boy and on "pa rum pum pum pum" stop. Encourage him to tap out the missing beat. Note: Constancy games challenge his listening and memory skills.

LEAPING TO SKIPPING (Approximately 48+ months)
DRUM PARADE. Set out different sound-making objects around the room. Sing Little Drummer Boy and march around the room. On "pa rum pum pum pum" stop and drum the beat. Note: Movement and music activities require a higher level of judgement, timing, and memory.

Wishing you a happy, healthy, and active holiday season!

From A Moving Child Is a Learning Child: How the Body Teaches the Brain to Think by Gill Connell and Cheryl McCarthy, copyright © 2013. Used with permission of Free Spirit Publishing Inc., Minneapolis, MN; 800-735-7323; All rights reserved.

If you'd like more information about A Moving Child Is a Learning Child, hop over to our friends at Free Spirit Publishing!