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."

Saturday, December 21, 2013


Day 21
Nutcracker Jig

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Experts agree, imagination fuels childhood, and of course, role play is the pump. And while I’m a true believe in the power and importance of imagination, I've found little attention has been paid to the physical benefits of role play. We talk about this in our new book, A Moving Child Is a Learning Child...

"When a child borrows a character's physical characteristics -- size, strength, speed, bravery, agility, grace, silliness -- it requires her to move her body in new ways. And she may surprise herself (and you) with abilities she didn't know she had."

At this time of year, there are lots of famous characters to model, but I particularly like the nutcracker. Its stiff, military, robotic style requires deliberate, rigid muscle control.

If you'd like, turn on the soundtrack from The Nutcracker. The many dynamics in the music are a great backdrop to the stiff silliness of the game!

Start by introducing the nutcracker character to the your child. If you have one, great. If not, show her pictures of it. Talk about how the nutcracker stands tall and straight. Talk about the idea that he's made of wood. What would it be like to have arms and lets made of wood. How would you move? What does the nutcracker wear? Would you like to dress up like the nutcracker?

Next, encourage her to use her body to feel what it's like to be the nutcracker. Adopt the nutcracker pose. Stand straight and tall with your feet together and your arms straight and stiff at your sides. Move one arm, then the other. Does the nutcracker bend his elbows? Move one leg, then the other. Does the nutcracker bend his kness? Does the nutcracker move fast or slow? Give her time to move the way she believes the nutcracker moves.

Once she has the idea, begin to introduce one dance step at a time. For instance...

Step to the left like the nutcracker, then step to the right.
Bow from the waist like the nutcracker.
Kick like the nutcracker.
March like the nutcracker.

When she's comfortable with the steps, turn on some music and do the Nutcracker Jig!

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!

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