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."

Monday, December 23, 2013

A KINETIC CHRISTMAS: Pass the Presents

Day 23
Pass the Presents

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It's a good thing the elves are organized, because by this time each year, panic has set in at Santa's Workshop! The toys are all made (well, nearly all of them), and now it's time to get Santa's sleigh packed. The elves have a special tradition for packing the sleigh, so would you like to help them out?

I've been playing passing games with kids for years. And while I realize it looks simple, it's actually great for midline development, learning left from right, developing their sense of belonging and teamwork, and of course, having a lot of silly fun along the way.

There are two keys to passing games: 1. isolating movements, and 2. going in both directions.

Isolating movements (e.g., just using your right hand or just your left foot), forces the body and brain to coordinate actions, while keeping the rest of the body still. Of course, for little ones, the keeping still part is the challenge. Watch to see how successful they can be on their own. If a child struggles with this at first, don't worry. It's simply a signal that she needs more coordination activities to help her refine their midlines. To give her a feel for what keeping still feels like, hold her non-active hand or foot still for her a few times. That may be the cue her brain needs to do it on her own (with a little practice).

In early childhood, providing a well-balanced diet of movement activities also means watching to be sure she's using both sides of her body equally. For every passing game activity you do, always be sure to go in both directions -- right to left/left to right, front to back/back to front, etc.

So, let's help out the elves and pass some presents, shall we?

I like to set passing games to music to create a natural rhythm for the children. Use any music you like of course, or sing the Pack the Sleigh song to them as the play...

Sung to the tune of Here We Come A-Wassailing

Here we go, it's up to us,
To pack the sleigh up right.
With toys and gifts that Santa brings,
On every Christmas night.

Pass them down, pass them round.
Don't let any touch the ground.
And we'll make sure the presents are with Santa on his sleigh.
That will make for a happy Christmas day!

Have the children stand in a circle. Start with one "present" (I usually use a bean bag, but any small toy will do so long as it can be passed with one hand). Continue to add “presents” to the circle as the children get better and better at the game.

Pass: Right hand.
Receive: Right hand.

Pass: Left hand.
Receive: Left hand.

Pass: Over head to the back.
Receive: Over head from the front.

Pass: Over head to the front.
Receive: Over head from the back.

Pass: Through the legs to the back
Receive: From front

Pass: To the front
Receive: Between legs from the back

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



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