Welcome to Moving Smart!

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


For my first born and her first born. Butterfly kisses to you both...

As I always say, playing WITH your child is the best thing you can do FOR your child. But there are times even moms get too tired to play.

Right now, my daughter is eight months pregnant with her second child, and while she loves playing with Caitlin every chance she gets, over the past few weeks, it's been getting tougher and tougher to keep up with all that two-year-old energy!

So, for all those second, third, or more-timer moms out there juggling life with a preschooler and another on the way, here are a few ideas to keep you P.W.P. (Playing While Pregnant), while you're getting a well-deserved rest on the couch!

10 Great Ideas for Keeping the Fun Moving with Your Playful Preschooler When You're Just Too Pregnant to Play!

1. SNUGGLEHUNT.  My mom did this with me and it was always one of my favorites... Snuggle up with your preschooler and slowly, gently, draw a letter on her back with your finger, calling out the letter as you draw. And draw it large so it covers her whole back, giving her a big physical sensation of what the letter feels like.

Then it's off on a hunt to find something around the house that matches that letter. (Note: if your child is too young for this part, you can either skip it or give her clues to what to look for. "Your favorite toy (doll) begins with the letter D. Where do you suppose it is?")

2. TOE TO TOE TALES. Put your feet up on the couch and have your child sit opposite you, putting her feet up against yours.  (Now, there's a little known fact about feet, but when they're toe-to-toe with other feet, they start to TALK!)
So, I wonder what your feet have to say? Where do your feet like to go? I wonder if they like kicking a ball or running or tiptoeing or taking baths?  Hmmm. I wonder...
Kick start the storytelling and then let her imagination sweep you both right off your feet!

3. STACKING TUMMY. Have your child go get their favorite blocks or a tub of Play-Doh. Lie down on the couch and use your tummy as a platform for building the tallest tower in the world! (And remember, babies like to play too, so be careful he doesn't kick it over!)

4. TUMMY ART. Ask your child to paint a picture for the new baby... on your belly! OK. I know this sounds silly, but this is a great way for your child to participate in your pregnancy and get to know the new baby in her own, imaginative way. After all, painting a picture for the baby is a gift only your preschooler can give.
Get a face painting kit and have it on hand for that day when you're just too tired to do anything but become a canvas for your child's creativity! 
If you want to know more, here's an article on Belly Painting from sheknows.com. It provides ideas, resources and even a recipe for home-made belly paint.


5. WHAT DID THE BEAR SEE? Children love to go on safari, so have your child take a trip with her favorite teddy bear while you both sing the classic The Bear Went Over the Mountain. Have her go see what she can see by slowly walking her teddy bear over all the mountains in the room, like the chairs, the coffee table, and yes, right over to you and your little "mountain."
Singing the lyrics while playing "over the mountain" reinforces the concept of "over" while play acting the role of this intrepid, and very observant little explorer bear!

Classic Children's Song (sung to the tune of For He's A Jolly Good Fellow)
Author Unknown

The bear went over the mountain,
The bear went over the mountain,
The bear went over the mountain,
To see what he could see

To see what he could see,
To see what he could see

The other side of the mountain,
The other side of the mountain,
The other side of the mountain,
Was all that he could see

Was all that he could see,
Was all that he could see,
The other side of the mountain,
Was all that he could see!

6. LIGHT FEVER!  Dim the lights, turn on your flashlight, and have your child chase the lights around the room! Dancing to moving lights is great for kids' rhythm, timing, and a whole lot of "huff 'n puff" fun!

7. WE'RE GOING TO THE CIRCUS!  Kids love to put on shows for you, so today, we're going to the circus! The monkeys are my favorite act!
1.      Hanging upside down from the trapeze (the couch)
2.      Walking the tightrope (line on the floor)
3.      Juggling scarves or beanbags (throw them up in the air for an indoor game of catch)
4.      Phew! It's time for intermission. Where's the popcorn?

8. ZOOKEEPER FREEZE!  It's a really cold day at the zoo -- too cold for the zookeeper (you) to go visit the animals. So the animals (your child) decide to go visit the zookeeper. Suggest that your child move like her favorite animals, but watch out! It's about to snow. When the snow flies, holler out FREEZE! and see the funny poses those silly animals get themselves into!

Animal pretend play requires moving your body in new (and silly!) ways, while giving preschoolers a chance to work on social skill foundations by working out what it feels what it's like to be somebody else.

9. SNACK SURPRISES. Grab some healthy snacks from the kitchen and hide them in a bag. Start the game by having your child reach in and FEEL the snacks, guessing at what she's feeling. Then, have her close her eyes. Take one snack out of the bag and have her SMELL it to see if she can tell what it is. Then, it's time for the TASTE surprise! Yummy!

By letting little ones explore foods with all of their senses, they may be more willing to taste and try new foods.

10. BABY BELLY BUTTERFLY KISSES. This is my granddaughter's favorite! Give your child a "kiss" by fluttering your eyelashes on her cheek.  The gentle, fluttering sensation tickles ever so slightly, while bringing the two of you close together for a giggle!

Then, to help your preschooler practice being gentle with the new baby, have her give the baby butterfly kisses all over your belly!
After all, I think all three of you deserve kisses for a day well played!

Rest well. And keep up the play!


  1. I love this post. I live in the UK and write the newsletter for our local parenting charity (National Childbirth Trust). I would love if you would let me use this as an article. Our newsletter is all free, we are completely nonprofit, run by volunteers and I just think this could really be of use to some of our members. I would of course promote your blog as well.

  2. Lydia - So glad you find this post useful! We would be honored to have you use this in your newsletter! What will you need from us? We can provide digital files, if you'd like. Thanks so much! Gill & Cheryl

  3. Hi Gill and Cheryl, I love it too, and I'm another local editor for the NCT. I can just copy and paste this article and attribute it to you and promote your blog, if that's ok?
    Thanks very much

  4. Oh we did belly painting and the tower building but I really wish I'd had these other ideas through my pregnancies!! I have to share these with doula clients. They're great!


  5. So glad you like these ideas, Honey! Please do share! We all get tired sometimes, even if the little ones never seem to run out of steam! Thanks!

  6. Cheryl, I'd love to repost this on our website for Moms, My719Moms.com. I'll link back to your blog and make sure it is properly attributed to you. Very awesome list!

  7. great ideas! Will share with Piedmont Family Magazine readers!

  8. Love your suggestions. I'd add one more: puppet shows. :)
    When I was at the very end of my pregnancy with my third child (due in August, a hot month), I wasn't good for much in the afternoons besides lying on the couch! My two preschoolers loved doing puppet shows for me over the back of the couch, with their stuffed animals and puppets. They made up some pretty hilarious scenarios!
    Some of these activities also work great for young siblings while their mommies nurse the new baby.

  9. I love the puppet show idea, Wendy! Thanks so much!

  10. These suggestions are just beautiful! Now, I just need to keep a link to this somewhere safe for when Number 2 is on the way...


  11. My son (17 months) plays cars on my ever expanding mountain. He'll run the cars up the hill, down the hill, and around the hill. We even line up 2 cars and have races to see which car will roll off the belly first! He LOVES it and it makes both of us gigle! :)

  12. I'm not pregnant, but am still restricted in what I can do and also low on energy due to foot surgery. THANK YOU for the ideas! You've saved *all* of our sanity!

  13. I'm 3 months pregnant with my second baby and have a 2.5 year old. I LOVE this and can't wait for a bigger belly to get the most out of some of your suggestions. So lovely. Thank you for sharing x x x

  14. These ideas are also good for those of us who are just too tired due to age (I am also too old to be pregnant). Thanks for sharing.

  15. Linking your hopscotch article on Home Education Daily!

    Love your blog!