The Mirror Game!

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Why It’s a Great Game!

Objectives & Learning Outcomes

Social Emotional Development:

  • Learning to cooperate
  • Accepting others’ ideas
  • Taking turns

Cognitive Development:

  • Replicating physically what the eyes see (developing visual sensitivity to change)
  • Developing focus, attention, and concentration
  • Learning about the concept of mirror reflection

Physical Development:

  • Practicing a variety of nonlocomotor movements
  • Developing spatial awareness (an awareness of space, relative distance, and relationships with space–experiencing personal space)

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How to Play

Set Up and Materials

  • Available indoor or outdoor space
  • Children paired up and scattered in the space
  • Music
  • If desired, demonstrate the concept of reflection using a mirror

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Directions

  1. Partners face each other at arm’s distance apart.
  2. Ask one child to be the “leader” and perform simple movements in place and his partner (the second child) to imitate the leader as a mirror reflection.  For example, if the leader  waves his right arm, the “mirror” waves his left arm in the same way, duplicating the movement as if he is looking into a mirror.
  3. Start the music–fast or slow.  The use of slow background music might help keep the partners moving slowly at first.
  4. Go from simple (only one body part moving) to complex (more than one body part moving at the same time).
  5. When the music stops, partners change roles, with the leader becoming the mirror and the mirror becoming the leader.

Suggestions & Variations

  • Children will mirror better if they watch each other’s eyes rather than extremities.
  • Ask the leader to move slowly enough so the mirror can follow.
  • Have the players do the activity while sitting.
  • Combine the activity with streamers or scarves.

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Discount School Supply® Product Recommendations:
Rainbow Dancing Wrist Bands (RNBW)
Juggling Scarves (JUGGLE)
Daily Fitness 4 CD Set (MOVEMENT)
Circle Time Fun Set – 3 CDs (CTIMEFUN)
Hamilton™ AM/FM CD Player (BOOMBOX)
Look At Me Mirror Kit (LOOKATME)

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Physical Activity for Children with Special Needs

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A child with special needs is one who requires some form of special care due to physical, mental, emotional or health reasons. Children with special needs are also commonly referred to as children with disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines a child with a disability more specifically as one who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits the child’s ability to care for herself or himself, perform manual tasks, or engage in any other “major life activity,” such as walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, or learning, in an age-appropriate manner.

Children with disabilities are more similar than different from other children.  Avoid becoming too focused on a child’s disability.  Treat each child as a whole person.  Every child needs to feel successful and capable. Children with Aspergers, autism or attention deficit hyperactive disorder often have the uncontrollable need to move and physical activity can help them learn to do so appropriately.  Most young children need to and want to move frequently and all children benefit while promoting physical fitness (muscular strength and endurance, cardiovascular endurance, flexibility), developing motor skills  (run, jump, hop, walk, gallop, skip, throw, catch, kick, bounce, strike, stretch, bend, twist, turn, balance), improving coordination, and building self-confidence.  The ways you include a child with physical differences or impairments will benefit all the children in your care.  Here are some strategies for inclusion.

  • Modify the environment
  • Modify the task for the individual
  • Use safe, soft objects
  • Simplify instructions
  • Give visual, oral, and kinesthetic cues
  • Provide plenty of repetition
  • Have role models
  • Use communication systems
  • Eliminate elimination games
  • Minimize waiting time

The primary reason that children participate in active play is to have fun, and the key reason they quit is a lack of fun.  With that being said, here is an activity that everyone can get in on the fun!

 Constructors & Destroyers

What:

20-30 Colored Cones
Portable iPod/CD Player
Music Suggestions: Taking Care of Business by Randy Bachman, Barefootin’ by Jimmy Buffett, Footloose by Kenny Loggins

Where:

Outdoor space (grass area or playground, etc.) or large indoor space (gym, multi-purpose room, etc.)

Who:

Children who want to move and play!

How:

  1. Set up the cones randomly spaced about 4-6 feet from each other.
  2. Knock over about one-third of those cones.  Space out those that are upright and those that are on their side.
  3. Organize the children into two groups.  One group is designated as the Constructors and the other group is designated as the Destroyers.  It is better to have a few more Constructors than Destroyers!
  4. The Constructors “job” is to stand up all the cones that were knocked over.
  5. The Destroyers “job” is to GENTLY tip over the cones that are standing up.  Make sure to remind the children to be gentle and only use the palms of their hands to touch the cones.  No kicking or throwing of the cones is allowed.
  6. The game begins (players move through the space doing their job) when the music starts and ends when the music stops.
  7. When the music stops, begin the game again but this time let the Constructors be Destroyers and Destroyers become the Constructors.

Discount School Supply® Product Recommendations:
Colored Cones – set of 10 (SETC – $16.99)
Hamilton® AM/FM, CD and MP3 Player (BEATBOX – $158.99)

Angels in the Snow


Growing up in the Midwest, snowy days provided us with winter fun and entertainment in the form of making “snow angels” or “snow fairies.”

A snow angel is created by lying down on your back in powdery snow and moving your outstretched arms on the snow, going from head to waist in a sweeping motion while also moving your legs apart as far as they will go and then bringing them back together.

Keep repeating these motions (it’s like doing jumping jacks while lying on your back) until a large enough indentation has been made. You’ll see the shape of an angel or fairy (a body with a skirt and wings) when you stand up. We would try to make several angels in the snow, always looking for the perfect angel (one without foot prints or handprints in the middle of it).

I didn’t grow up having Liquid Watercolor but wouldn’t it be fun to put some Liquid Watercolor™ into a spray bottle and spray the finished angels different colors to make them stand out?

Making snow angels can be great fun for the kids in your care. Mastery of angel-making in the snow is a fine example of building physical coordination (parts of the body moving smoothly together.)

The best news is that kids don’t have to live in snow country in order to make snow angels/fairies. These can be made on tall grass, in sand, and invisible ones can even be made on classroom or home carpets or on tumbling mat . Making snow angels can be a good cool-down activity to conduct after active play as it helps the heart and body to return to its normal resting state. To create a calm and relaxed mood, a teacher or caregiver can put a CD such as Putamayo “Dreamland” CD in the CD Player. As the soothing music plays, lead the children in the activity of angels in the snow.

For the developing young child, this activity may be harder to do than it looks.

Provide direction and guidance by following this procedure:
1.Child lies down on back.
2.Staying in contact with the surface of the floor, mat, snow, ground
or carpet, the child opens and closes legs. Arms are kept down to sides of body.
3.Child practices opening and closing legs, keeping legs in contact with floor.
4.Once a smooth, sustained legs-apart, legs-together movement is mastered, instruct the child to move arms away from sides of body to shoulder height and then return them to side of body, keeping arms in constant contact with floor.
5.Now instruct the child to open and close legs while moving arms.
6.Emphasize that the arms and legs stay in touch with the surface of the floor while there is movement.