Welcome to Moving Smart!

Helping parents and teachers understand the LEARNING benefits of all those wiggles & giggles!



Have you ever noticed little ones tend to go fast? And telling them to slow down doesn't work (at least not for long).

Chances are children who move fast aren't "hyperactive" or even in a hurry. It's more likely they haven't yet mastered their balance. You see, to move slowly or deliberately the brain needs a good sense of balance to keep us upright while in motion. When that's lacking, the easiest thing to do is go faster!

So, to slow down your little "speedster" try making going slow into a game. Here are a few ideas you can try anytime, anywhere...

FREEZE! This kid’s favorite is a great way to modify speed from “on” to “off.” Start the game by explaining when you say ”Freeze” they have to stop in their tracks and not move a muscle. Count to three and unfreeze. Be sure to give them a chance to make you freeze too!

THE CHALLENGE. Instead of instructing them to “Slow down,” turn it into a game by throwing down a challenge... “I bet you can’t go slow.” “I bet you can’t go slower.” ”Even slower.”

TURTLE TIME. Set a timer for 5 minutes and call out “Turtle Time.” During Turtle Time, everyone has to do everything in slow motion... walk slow... talk slow... hug slow!

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Have you ever noticed some kids jump from one activity to another without spending concentrated time on any one thing or just never seeming to finish anything? Adults may see this as a sign the child can’t stay focused, gets bored easily, or gives up without the resilience to keep trying. 

But for little ones, it may simply be a matter of physical endurance. For instance, drawing a picture takes concentrated hand strength. When their hand gets tired, it doesn’t feel good. So they switch to another activity that uses a different set of muscles giving their hand a chance to rest.

It’s actually a clever strategy if you think about it. But learning to finish what you start is an important readiness skill (and mind-set) for school and life.


If you've noticed this tendency, watch to see if they’re using different muscle groups when they jump from one activity to another. If they are, consider introducing more time outdoors and on the playground. All whole-body active play will naturally build up stamina and endurance across all the muscle groups which, over time, will give them the power they need to stick with it!

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Kids love to spin around and around. Most grown-ups think it’s cute and silly. Or maybe they have ants in their pants. But it's actually important for brain development. 

You see, it’s likely when they go for a spin it means the brain is craving vestibular stimulation (the inner ear that controls balance). Spinning naturally trains the brain to understand equilibrium and orientation. And the brain likes it so it feels good. That's why they'll spin and spin until they fall down dizzy.

So when they go for a spin, here's our advice... Let ‘em!


Encourage them to SPIN SLOWLY. This gives the brain more time to absorb the kinetic information.

Challenge them to spin in BOTH DIRECTIONS.

If you have an OFFICE CHAIR, sit them on your lap and go for a spin with them!

And of course, whenever you’re at the playground, be sure to hop on the MERRY-GO-ROUND.

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We’re guessing every parent knows this kid. The one who goes bump into everything... the furniture... the potted plant... the ever-patient pet... and especially you. They’ll practically knock you over if you’re not looking! 

We call those “bump ‘n hugs” and in our view, they’re the best part of the day. 

But did you ever wonder why they do it?


The technical term for it is proprioception - our internal GPS system. You see, children aren’t born with an understanding of their own bodies. They don’t even know their own size or shape at first. They learn it over time through interactions with the people, places, spaces, and things in their path.

But it’s not as simple as introducing your child to the ottoman and they’re good to go. Their body is always growing which means their spatial relationships are constantly changing. And that’s why they go bump. As we describe it in A Moving Child is a Learning Child...

“It’s not a question adults have to think about. But it’s a big idea for little ones. Will I fit? And that likely explains why kids love to climb in, on, around, under, over, and through things. It’s their way of exploring their place in our world.


Sit back and watch and you’ll see your child is working on this all the time. Notice how they might take an indirect route to get where they’re going, preferring to go under the coffee table for example, or over the arm of a chair.

Consider what you have right in your own living room they could navigate. For instance, throw pillows on the floor that challenge them to move over or around them. Put different sized cardboard boxes around so they can see how they fit into them. Use the dining room set as a natural tunneling system. Position the ottoman to block their path so they have to retrace their steps. (But don't be surprised if they decide it's a mountain to climb!) Or choose a row of tiles on the floor or a crack in the sidewalk to walk along. 

Encourage them to move in space-related ways. For instance, bring your head down when crawling under things. Move sideways in tight spaces. Bend your knees to jump over things. 

And most important of all, the next time you get a bump ‘n hug, be sure to hug back extra tight so they know you are where they always fit.