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."

PLAYABLE MOMENTS ARCHIVE



THE OVER-UNDER JOURNEY!
For SCOOTERS & SKEDADDLERS (Approximately 3+)

Playing collaborative games equalizes the playing field for your child while giving you a perfect, kids-eye-view of life!  Next time you have a few minutes, try taking an Over-Under Journey and you might just be amazed where the two of you end up!

SET UP
1. Start by deciding where to go.  You may want to go to a real place like the kitchen or you could think of grander, imaginative places like the Dinosaur Forest or the Princess Castle!  (Wherever you decide to go, pick a physical location 10-15 feet away as your target for a game of 5-6 turns.)  Let your child decide the destination and then follow her imaginative lead.

2. Next, decide who is "Over" and who is "Under."  Again, let your child decide.  

3. Using only your bodies and your imaginations, the "Over" player must travel each step of the journey by going over the other player.  Likewise, the  "Under" player must go under the other player.

GAME PLAY
Here’s a few ideas to get you started.  Note:  These ideas are written for parents but can easily be adjusted for children as well.  But be sure to let your children make up their own over/under obstacles as much as possible.
  • Go OVER THE HILL (stand tall and let your child climb all the way up you!)
  • Go UNDER THE BRIDGE (form a bridge with your body or legs and let your child climb under)
  • Go OVER THE TICKLE TIGER (lie down on your back and have your child climb over your tummy -- tickling as she goes!)
  • GO UNDER GATE (lie on the floor and raise one leg in the air up and down.  Have your child scoot through the gate.)
  • Go OVER THE TEA POT (sit on the floor and form the shape of a tea pot.  As your child climbs over you, whistle like a tea pot!
  • Go UNDER THE PUDDLE (lie down on the floor tummy-side down.  Have your child "swim" underneath you)
  • GO OVER THE WORM (wiggle like a worm on the floor and have your child climb over you from head to toe)
  • GO UNDER THE TUNNEL.  (sit on the floor with your knees up and have your child climb through)


READY STEADY GO!
For Wigglers (pre-crawling)


When he begins rocking, get down on the floor and rock right along with him!  To encourage him even more, rub his back in a forward motion – and if you’d like, rock it out with this rap song…

Rock! Rock! Rock on the spot.
Rock! Rock! Rock til you flop.
Rock! Rock! All day long.
Rock! Rock! And then MOVE ON!

Ready?
Yo!
Steady?
Yo!
Ready! Steady!
Go! Go! Go!


SNAIL THE WHALE 
CAN’T FIND HIS TAIL!
For SCOOTERS & SKEDADDLERS (Approximately 3+)

Sometimes when kids can’t seem to sit still, they may need to stimulate their vestibular (balance) system. Take a moment to tell the story of poor old Snail the Whale...

There once was a whale named Snail
Who couldn’t find the end of his tail.
Three spins to the left,
Then back to the right,
Never failed to help Snail find his tail.

“WHERE’S YOUR TAIL?”
Now make a game of it! Get up and look for your own tail.  Then ask your child if he can find his.  Spin slowly three times to the left, then slowly again, three times to the right. (SLOW is the key here... about one revolution per 8 seconds.)

And once he's found his tail, what’s the best way to keep from losing it again?  Sit down!

You may find that “finding his tail” may help him settle down and sit still... at least for a little while longer.  Let me know how it goes.











RIGHT DOWN TO YOUR TOES
For Any Age
First, relax and get comfortable, talking or singing quietly to your child.  When I’m getting my granddaughter Caitlin (2 years old) ready for bed, I start the foot massage and recite this little poem…

I LOVE YOU RIGHT DOWN TO YOUR TOES

Feet take us high,
Feet take us low.
Feet take us fast.
Feet take us slow.

Feet take us left.
Feet take us right.
Feet take us forward.
And help us take flight.

Feet take us places we need to be. 
Feet take us places we want to see.
And wherever your feet decide to go,
Remember I love you right down to your toes.


CHILDREN’S FOOT MASSAGE TECHNIQUES

·         TO START.  If you’d like, use a drop of scented oil on your hands (obviously, being careful of any allergies you know of).  Then, one foot at a time…
·         SHINS.  Begin the massage at the shin and work down across the top of the foot.  Of note, you should apply a gentle, but firm massage technique to avoid tickling.
·         IN-STEP.  Rub the in-step (the inner side of the foot) straight up and down, again, with a gentle-but-deep massage to avoid tickling.
·         HEELS AND ANKLES.  Rub the heel in a circular motion then gently rotate the entire foot while massaging the ankle.
·         CALVES.  Slowly work your way back up, massaging the calf muscles.
·         TO FINISH.  After massaging both feet (and if Caitlin’s still awake by this point), I rub both feet together and kiss them both good night.







TOUCH TAG!
For BOPPERS, SCOOTERS, AND SKEDADDLERS (approximately 2+)

      This is a wonderfully simple game you can play anytime, anywhere.

      Touch Tag helps your child develop physical relationships with words that often have different meanings in different situations.  Play it like a scavenger hunt.  Here are a few suggestions to get you started…

      Can you touch the TOP of your head… toes… nose… table… chair… pillow… toy… paper… pencil, etc.

      And, of course, you can play Touch Tag with other directional words.  For example, you might try... side… bottom… back… front… left… right… next to, etc.






FLOOR TIME FUN!
For Different Ages...

SNUGGLERS (newborns and infants not yet crawling)
      Put a soft blanket on the floor and lay baby down.  Giving your little one a sense of the wide open spaces of the room will give her a new sense of space and her environment. Then turn her on her tummy and encourage her to see the world from that angle, such as…
·         If you have one, put your fish bowl on the floor and she will be fascinated with the shimmering movement.
·         Short of a fish bowl, try a mirror.  (Babies love to look at themselves.)
·         Place favourite toys in front of her to attract her attention.
·         Lie down on your tummy and have a nose to nose chat.  (Babies love to look at you!)

WIGGLERS (crawling)
      At this stage, encourage crawling short and long distances as well as over, under, and through different things, such as…
·         Make tunnels – use the coffee table or a cardboard box opened on both ends so she can crawl through it
·         Make hills – use pillows and sofa cushions to crawl over
·         Add textures and sounds – create multi-sensory experiences by having your child crawl over crumpled paper or bubble wrap

SCAMPERS (pulling up, cruising, and beginning to climb)
      Providing extra sensory stimulation to her feet will help as she gets ready to walk on her own. Take off her shoes and socks and have her step on different textures, such as…
·      Soft rugs
·      Smooth, cool hardwood or tiled floors
·      Prickly welcome mat from outside
·      Soft and nubby terrycloth towel
·      Crumpled paper
·      Bubble wrap

BOPPERS/SCOOTERS/SKEDADDLERS (walking and running)
      Now up and running, the floor is where the action is!  Encourage full use of the space by asking her how many ways she can get across the room? 
·      Walk
·      Hop
·      Tip Toe
·      Roll
·      Dance
·      Walk like a Crab
·      And whatever else the two of you come up with!