Tuesday, December 17, 2013
A KINETIC CHRISTMAS: Make Your Own Blizzard!
Make Your Own Blizzard
FROM JUMPING TO SKIPPING (Approximately 2 1/2+ years)
As a kid, I couldn't wait for the snow to fly (which of course is July here in New Zealand). And one of my favorite things to do was jump out into the garden just as the snow as starting to fall. In the early moments of incoming snow, the snowflakes float in the air like feathers so they are easy to "catch." And of course, once you have them in your mitten, you can studying them up close and see all of their intricate, icy details.
CATCHING TAKES CONTROL
As much fun as catching snow was for me then (and still is!), it's easy to miss the complex intuition, coordination, and control it requires. Indeed, catching involves simultaneous mastery of multiple dynamics including speed, distance, and direction. After all, by its very definition, what you're trying to catch is in motion, and chances are, you are too!
To me, catching is uniquely personal for the simple reason that the object is coming TOWARDS you. That is, it's easy to see something flying across your field of vision. But when it's coming at you, it's much trickier to judge. As such, catching helps develop visual perception, three-dimensional perspective and spatial dynamics, along with essential practice in eye-hand coordination, judging distance and timing, and so much more that gets kids thinking on their feet!
Like most skills, catching doesn't start the first time someone throws a ball to you. Instead, it begins with the simple act of moving your body towards and away from things. Indeed, just by crawling on the floor, the brain is picking up important sensory data about the how near and far, approaching and retreating works. Only after the body has given the brain these experiences, can the brain then begin to understand when an object is getting closer or further away.
So let's try a few blizzardy games that involve catching, gathering, shoveling, and more!
Start with a pile of feathers (ideally white feathers to match the snow). (If you don't have feathers, rip up tiny bits of tissue paper.) "Snow" the feathers up in the air and challenge your child to catch as many as she can.
IT'S SNOWING RIGHT & LEFT! "Snow" the feathers again, encouraging her to try to catch them only with her right or left hand.
IT'S SNOWING ON MY ELBOW! Next, trying catching the "snow" with other parts of the body... your elbow, your knee, your head, your feet, etc.
SNOW MEANS SHOVELING!
Once it's snowed, we have to shovel! Give her a plastic pail and shovel and have them scoop up the feathers.
Use two pieces of cardboard (one for each hand), and have her scoop up the feathers.
With the feathers on the floor, lay the pail a few feet away. Give your child a straw and have her blow the snow into the pail. Controlling the "snow" without touching it is great fun and a terrific lesson in managing small movements for big results!
PICK UP SNOW
This is great practice for the pincer grip and finger control. Give your child a pair of tongs or chopsticks and work with her to pick up one feather at a time and put them in the pail.
Wishing you a happy, healthy, and active holiday season!
A KINETIC CHRISTMAS
24 DAYS OF ACTIVE HOLIDAY PLAY!