Stick Yarn Bombing

Sharron Stick Yarn 6

It all started with the children’s picture book, “Extra Yarn” by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen.  It’s a story about a young girl named Annabelle who happens to find a box filled with multicolored yarn.  She does what you might expect–knits a sweater for herself.  But there is extra yarn, so she knits one for her dog, only to discover that there is still more yarn.  She then knits sweaters for others–her classmates and teacher and even animals.  Still–more yarn.  She begins to cover her entire cold, drab town in rainbow knitwear–including buildings and trees and even a pickup truck.  Before long, an archduke, who has heard about the magic box of never-ending yarn, arrives and offers Annabelle riches in exchange for the box.  When she refuses, the archduke has it stolen.  But it is for naught–he finds the box empty and angrily tosses it in the sea, where it eventually returns to Annabelle.  This warm tale teaches a lesson and everyone can interpret it differently…but the moral is that good things happen to those who do good things.

Sharron Stick Yarn 1

As my good friend, Isabel Baker of The Book Vine for Children  says, “This book begs to be extended!”  She asked me to collaborate with her on ways that we could integrate this wonderful story into the classroom. Of course, there is knitting and crocheting and the sharing of things that are made of yarn (hats, sweaters, scarfs, blankets, etc.).  Many art activities come to mind – gluing yarn on paper, painting with yarn and Colorations® Liquid Watercolor, cutting yarn and sticking pieces on clear contact paper.  And then I remembered one winter day at my house with some of the grandchildren and providing them with skeins of bright colorful yarn.  And from the pictures below, you can obviously see the active, fun-filled, and collaborative “art” that they created on the stair railings.

Sharron Stick Yarn 2

Sharron Stick Yarn 3

I have come to learn that yarn bombing is a type of graffiti or street art that employs colorful displays of knitted or crocheted yarn or fibre rather than paint or chalk.  Often undercover and often at night, yarn bombing involves crafters and artists knitting works of art made of yarn onto civic structures and into the fabric of public spaces.  Signs of the yarn bombing movement have shown up in cities across the world.  Bombers have knit turtleneck sweaters for trees in Seattle and covered subway seats in Philadelphia.  The third International Yarn Bombing Day was celebrated on June 8, 2013.  On this day, yarn enthusiasts from around the globe shared their passion with the world by “tagging” their neighborhood–covering bike racks, trees, park benches to even just wrapping a pole or lamp post with yarn–creating a happy spring experience for the members of the community.

Sharron Stick Yarn 5

Isabel was presenting her very popular workshop, “The Best New Books For Preschoolers”  at the recent NAEYC Professional Development Institute and wanted to extend this story.  I thought, why not yarn bomb a stick–the oldest and possibly the best toy in the world–natural and free.  So I collected 150 sticks from my neighborhood and brought them with me to the Institute taking place at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square.  I asked the attendees to pick a stick that “speaks to you,” (thank you Karen Lombard from Dayton Public Schools).  After I read the story, “Extra Yarn,” I passed around little black boxes of yarn and, of course, the yarn bombing began and no one wanted to stop!  Then I did this with my grandchildren at our family gathering in Lake Tahoe, reading the story, collecting sticks on our nature walks, and providing the magical box of yarn and the “yarn bombing” began and they didn’t want to stop!  Look at what they did with their wrapped sticks: they made geometric shapes, “writing” the initials of their first and last name, to even making hearts.  We love STICK YARN BOMBING!

Sharron Stick Yarn 7

Discount School Supply® Product Recommendations:
Jumbo Roving Yarn (ROVING)

Colorations® Acrylic Yarn – set of 12 (YARN)
Yarn Dispensing Box – 16 colors (YARNBOX)
White Sulfite Paper – 500 sheets (P9SU)
Colorations® Crystal Clear Cover (SSAP)
Colorations® Washable School Glue – 4 oz (PMCWG)
Colorations® 5” Blunt Tip Craft Scissors (CBS)
Colorations® Liquid Watercolor Paint – set of 18 (LW18)

Keep Cool! Ice Play In the Water Table

IceSculpture1

Materials Needed:
Ice—cubes, blocks, etc.
Table salt
Rock salt
Kosher salt (optional)
Eye droppers or pipettes
Colorations® Liquid Watercolor™ or food coloring (red, yellow, blue)
Sensory tub or water/sand table
Small containers/cups to hold the salt and coloring

Procedure:

  1. Freeze water in a variety of sizes and shapes of empty containers—plastic bowls, jello molds, cardboard milk containers, ice cube trays, etc.
  2. Empty the ice shapes and ice cubes into the sensory tub or water table,
  3. Place small cups of salt and rock salt in the tub.
  4. Place small cups of Colorations® Liquid Watercolor™ in tub.  Add a pipette or eye dropper to each cup.
  5. Have children sprinkle salt and rock salt on the ice shapes. Encourage them to add ice cubes to the larger ice shapes.  As the salt melts the ice, the ice cubes and ice pieces will stick to each other creating a unique “sculpture.”
  6. Children then use the pipettes to drop the Colorations® Liquid Watercolor™ into the cracks and holes created by the rock salt and salt.
  7. Remember to take a photo of the ice sculpture before it melts away!

IceSculpture2

Learning Outcomes/Desired Results

  1. Cognitive Development–Science—Cause and Effect–as you discuss the chemical reaction that ice has when salt is sprinkled on it.  Salt lowers the freezing point of ice, causing it to melt.
  2. Cognitive Development–Science—Cause and Effect—solids transforming into liquids.
  3. Cognitive Development—Science—Cause and Effect—mixing primary colors  (red, yellow, blue) you make the secondary colors (orange, green, and purple).
  4. Physical Development—Fine Motor Skills—using small muscles (pincher grasp) in fingers to squeeze the bulb of the pipette or eye dropper and to pick up grains of salt and chunks of rock salt.
  5. Physical Development—Fine Motor Skills—hand-eye coordination—hands and eyes working together to accomplish a task—using fingers to manipulate pipette with color and squirting colors into salt crevices.
  6. Cognitive Development—Problem Solving and Critical Thinking—some children will have difficulty in figuring out how to get the color into the pipette and then onto the ice.  Handling the eye dropper will be a challenge, so they should be shown how to use it and encouraged to keep trying until they succeed.
  7. Language Development–Speaking–as children talk excitedly about what they see happening.
  8. Encourages creativity and persistence.
  9. Social/Emotional Development–is fostered as this is an open-ended activity with no right or wrong way to do this activity.  It promotes children’s self-esteem.

Discount School Supply® Product Recommendations:
Colorations® Liquid Watercolor™ – set of 18 8 0z bottles (LW18)
Six Paint Cups in a Base (PNTCPS)
Super Safe Plastic Droppers (12SSD)
Plastic Eyedroppers – set of 12 (EYEDROP1)
Medium Best Value Sand & Water Activity Table (LWTAB)
Sand & Water Activity Tubs – set of 4 (TUBS)

Pop-Up Puppets = Hands-On Learning!

I have been using Discount School Supply’s Counting Pop-Up Puppets with great success in introducing math and science concepts, supporting literacy skills and dramatic play, as well as promoting movement and physical activity.  This set of 5 hand puppets include: 1 flower in a flowerpot, 2 penguins on an iceberg, 3 birds in a nest, 4 ladybugs on a leaf, and 5 green and speckled frogs on an old brown log.  Each puppet has a flap with the numeral under it matching the number of items on the glove, i.e. the numeral 3 is under the flap of the 3 birds in the nest.  Using the 5 puppets helps you teach numbers 1-5, one-to-one correspondence, numeral recognition, ordering and matching, addition and subtraction. Reinforce ordinal numbers by asking the children which puppet is first, last; first, second, third.  Cardinality is addressed when the last number named is the quantity of object counted–tells “how many.”  Life science includes the study of plants and animals and the puppets show their habitats.  I’ve listed below an activity–song, dramatic play, dance, movement–to use with each puppet.  Let the children put the puppets on their hands and stage a play!  Puppets are a great tool to use in engaging children in the learning process.

 

The Little Flower (1 Flower)
In the heart of a seed,
Buried deep so deep,
A tiny flower
Lay fast asleep.
“Wake,” said the sunshine,
“And creep to the light.”
“Wake,” said the voice
Of the raindrops bright.
The little flower heard
And it rose to see,
What the wonderful,
Outside world might be.

Act out this poem by having the children crouch down low to the floor and pretend they are seeds sleeping.  Then encourage them to stand up slowly until they are fully extended as the seeds sprouted (with the help of the sun and the rain) to become beautiful flowers.

Penguin Dance Chant by Jack Hartmann (2 Penguins)

Chorus:
Have you ever seen a penguin come to tea
When you look at me a penguin you will see
Penguins attention, penguins begin

Right flipper (move right arm up and down)
(Chorus)
Right flipper, Left flipper (move right and left arm up and down)
(Chorus)
Right flipper, Left flipper, Right leg
(Chorus)
Right flipper, Left flipper, Right leg, Left leg
(Chorus)
Right flipper, Left flipper, Right leg, Left leg, Head
Chorus
Right flipper, Left flipper, Right leg, Left leg, Head, Turn around
(Chorus)
Right flipper, Left flipper, Right leg, Left leg, Head, Turn around, Penguin sound (caw, caw, caw, caw, caw)
(Chorus)

Penguins Attention!

Little Birdies Song (3 Blue Birds)
Way up in the sky (jump high)
The little birds fly (flap arms)
While down in the nest (form nest with arms)
The little birds rest (hands next to head like napping)
Shhh! They’re sleeping. (stage whisper shh! say quietly they’re sleeping)
With a wing on the left (fold left arm under)
And a wing on the right (fold right arm under)
The little birds sleep (hands next to head like napping)
All through the night.
Shhh! They’re sleeping. (stage whisper shh! say quietly they’re sleeping)
The BRIGHT SUN COMES UP! (yell it out and jump high with arms above head)
The dew goes away (hands like banging on a keyboard)
Good morning, good morning, the little birds say (raise arms up and down)

Four Red Ladybugs (4 Ladybugs)
Four red ladybugs sitting on a leaf.
They sit on a leaf on a tree.
And as they sit on that little green leaf,
There are so many friends to see!
With puppet on hand, point or “fly around” to all the children and say each one’s name…
“I see Jack, and Sophia, and Mark, and Sally…”
When the child hears their name they wave their hand in greeting.

Five Green and Speckled Frogs (5 Green Frogs)
Five green and speckled frogs,
Sitting on an old brown log,
Eating some most delicious bugs — YUM! YUM!
One jumped into the pool,
Where it was nice and cool,
Then there are four green and speckled frogs. RIBBITT! RIBBITT! RIBBITT! RIBBITT!
Continue count down until…
Now there are no green and speckled frogs.

DIY Streamer Ribbons

I really enjoy presenting workshops where I not only share active play products but also play props or toys that can be made using recyclables.  A favorite product is the Rainbow Dancing Wrist Bands from Discount School Supply®.  I prefer to use streamer ribbons that are not connected to a long stick.  The stick can be too cumbersome for little hands and a safety hazard as well.  Streamer Ribbons can be an easy “Do It Yourself” (DIY) project.  In previous posts I gave instructions on how to make a Floppy Flipper, Bread Bag Jump Rope, and a Six-Pack Net.  In this post, I will share with you on how to make a streamer ribbon using one plastic ring and some flagging tape.  Turn trash into toys for active play indoors or outdoors!

Sharron DIY StreamerRibbon

Materials:

  1. One plastic ring from six-pack plastic rings: a set of connected plastic rings that are used to carry six-packs of beverage cans or plastic bottles of soft drinks, aka ”carrier rings.”
  2. Colored flagging tape or surveyor’s tape: a non adhesive marking ribbon used for surveying, mapping, tagging, roping off areas or any other marking application. Available in a wide variety of bright and bold colors.

 Recycle & Play! Six-Pack Net & Bread Bag Jump Rope

Directions:

  1. Cut plastic rings apart, making sure to keep the rings intact.
  2. Cut 3-4 three foot pieces of different colored flagging tape and tie each piece to the plastic ring.
  3. Make two DIY Streamer Ribbons–one for each hand!

Sharron DIY StreamerRibbon Tape

Activities:

Streamer Ribbon Dancing
Start the music and bodies start moving.  With a streamer ribbon in their hand, encourage the children to dance and move about freely in the open space.  Suggest to the children that they move the streamer fast, slow, high, low, side to side, and all around.  Tell them that when the music stops, they are to stop and freeze (stand motionless like a statue).  When the music starts again, children resume dancing.  Ask children to follow along as you move the streamer across the front of your body, circle the streamer in front of your body like a Ferris wheel or circle it over your head like a helicopter blade.  Try to trick the dancers by starting and stopping the music quickly.  They love the element of surprise!  Use all different types of music: fast, slow, classical, rock, salsa.  When playing a slow song, suggest the children twirl, leap and float to the music.  Streamer Ribbon dancing promotes cross-lateral movements (crossing the midline) and develops body and space relationships, agility, flexibility, and listening skills.

Run Like the Wind
On your mark, get set, get ready, GO!  Have children run from one boundary to another with their Streamer Ribbon in their hand.  They will ask to do it again and again. Running is a locomotor skill and a form of vigorous physical activity that increases the heart rate while improving fitness.

Nature Play
Initiate creative movement using the Streamer Ribbon to imitate nature.  Ask the children to show you how they can make:

  • Ocean waves by shaking the ribbon in front of their body
  • A rainbow by moving the ribbon in an arc from one side of their body to the other
  • A river by dragging the ribbon across the floor or ground
  • Tree branches in a windstorm by holding the ribbon above their head and swaying from side to side
  • A tornado by spinning around and raising and lowering the ribbon

Tails
Set up boundaries using ropes or cones in the available space. Each child tucks a Streamer Ribbon into their waistband behind their back. The ribbon is now their tail. The game starts when the music starts and the children run in the available space.  The game is played like tag, but instead of tagging each other, children pull each others ribbons out of their waistbands and drop them on the ground.  The child whose ribbon is pulled picks up his streamer ribbon (tail), goes to “the tail repair area” (a designated spot, i.e., door, tree, etc.) to replace the ribbon in their waistband.  Once the ribbon is secure in their waistband, the child returns to the game and resumes pulling tails (ribbons).  The game ends when the music stops.  This group game promotes cooperative play, vigorous physical activity and lots of laughter!

Discount School Supply® Product Recommendations:
Rainbow Dancing Wrist Bands – set of 6 (RNBW)
Colored Cones – set of 10 (SETC)
7′ Nylon Jump Ropes – set of 3 (RPST)

Feed the Frog! Gulp! Gulp! Gulp!

He’s a big green wide-mouthed frog and he loves to eat dragonflies!  I really like this Wooden Frog Toss (FROGTOSS) which comes with 2 supports (prevents it from tipping) and six rainbow-colored dragonfly beanbags.  The supports slide into slots when you are ready to play “Feed the Frog” and remove easily for flat storage. The feature I like the most is the target, the frog’s wide mouth, which is achievable for even the littlest thrower. So many bean bag toss games have several small holes that make it difficult for anyone (even the adult!) to succeed when attempting to reach the target. The Frog Toss game ensures that each child will experience success when playing while promoting eye-hand coordination, gross motor skills and, in this game, color recognition. It’s best to place the Frog Toss on a table or platform (inside or outdoors) where it is at eye-level for your children.  Place the dragonfly beanbags in a basket on the floor or ground and this wide-mouthed frog is just waiting to be fed–TOSS, THROW, TOSS, THROW the dragonflies–GULP! GULP! GULP!  YUM!

When introducing new equipment to children, please allow time for free exploration and practice.  Give children opportunities to throw from a variety of distances and to throw in different ways thus enabling them to experiment and find the position offering challenge but from which they experience success. I’ve provided some information and terminology that will assist you in understanding the levels and stages children go through in learning how to toss (slow or mid-paced looping throw using just fingers and hand) and throw (more forceful using arms and shoulders to propel the object).  Remember that learning a new skill is a process and each skill has its own developmental progression.

Stages of Throwing:

  1. Child only moves his throwing arm. The body does not move as he throws.
  2. Determine which hand the child usually uses for throwing.
  3. A child who throws with the right arm will step forward with the right foot.
  4. A child who throws with the left arm will step forward with the left foot
  5. Prompt children to step forward with the foot opposite their throwing arm. This is the mature way to throw.

sharron frog toss 1

Teaching Cues for Learning to Throw:

  1. “Look at the target.” (the frog’s mouth)
  2. “Bring the beanbag to your ear before you throw.”
  3. “Start with this foot in front.” (referring to the foot opposite the throwing arm)
  4. “Step, turn your belly button, throw.”

Teaching Suggestions:

  • Demonstrate the activity for the children.
  • Use hoops on the floor to designate where children are to stand when engaged in the activities.
  • To increase interest, choose other items for the child to toss into the frog’s mouth, such as: foam balls, soft blocks, plush play food, etc.

sharron frog toss 2

Objectives/Learning Outcomes:

Playing and participating in the activities and with the equipment promotes and develops…

  1. Throwing – a  basic movement pattern that propels an object away from the body.
  2. Tossing – to throw with a quick or light motion.
  3. Underhand throw or toss – made with the hand brought forward and up from below the shoulder level.
  4. Overhand throw or toss – made with the hand brought forward and down from above shoulder level.
  5. Gross motor development – movement of the large muscles of the arms, legs and trunk.
  6. Manipulative skills – gross motor skills in which an object (bean bag) is usually involved (manipulated).  These include throwing and catching.
  7. Fine motor development – movement of the small muscles of the fingers, toes and eyes.
  8. Eye-hand coordination – eyes and hands working together smoothly to meet a challenge.
  9. Color recognition – identifying the difference between colors of the dragonflies.

10. Counting – how many dragonflies did you feed the frog?

11. Cooperation – learning to take turns and play together

12. Listening skills – ability to follow verbal directions

Discount School Supply® Product Recommendations:
Wooden Frog Toss Board, with six dragonfly beanbags (FROGTOSS)
Classroom Activity Baskets – set of 6 (CATCHY)
4″ Foam Balls, set of 6 (FOAMBS)
Soft Velour Blocks, set of 24 (VLRBLK)
Yummy Plush Play Food, 25 pieces (YUMMY)
Fruit and Vegetable Sorting Set, 20 pieces (FRUVEG)

Drop & Catch! You’re Next!

A simple and cooperative game that promotes gross motor as well as fine motor development, including eye-hand coordination and bilateral coordination.  Toddlers and even school agers enjoy and benefit from playing with a ball and a beanbag!  Perhaps you will discover the science of physics happening when you play this game. Try it out!

drop catch 1.2

Materials:
6-9 inch ball–one that can be inflated and bounce (sensory or playground ball)
beanbag

Procedure:

  1. Gather group of children in a circle.
  2. Place a beanbag on top of inflated ball.
  3. With two hands, shoulder width apart, hold ball at arm’s length in front of you.
  4. Drop, DO NOT PUSH, the ball.
  5. When the ball hits the ground, the beanbag “jumps” into the air.
  6. Encourage whoever is near the beanbag to catch it before it touches the ground.  (Of course, toddlers love to run and retrieve it and bring it back to you to “do it again, do it again!”)
  7. Whoever catches the beanbag has the next turn.

drop catch 2.2

Discount School Supply® Product Recommendations:
Oversized Sensory Balls – set of 3 (SENBALL3)
Best Value Playground Balls – set of 4 (PGSET)
Hand Pump (PUMP)
Colored Beanbags – set of 12 (CBB)

Winter and Holiday Active Play Ideas

‘Tis the season for holiday celebrations and parties–whether they are in the classroom or with the family. What to do that is age appropriate for children and doesn’t involve sweet treats or a screen? The following active play ideas can be done indoors or outdoors depending on the space available and the weather. It’s time to begin the festivities and liven up the party!

Wrapping Paper Breakthrough. Set up boundaries using Cones or Hop Around Steps 15 to 24 feet apart. Two adults at the “finish line” hold a sheet of wrapping paper (~ 22” x 24”) with each hand on a corner. When you say, “Get ready, get set, run,” the child at the “start line” (with the palms of his hands touching and pointing forward) runs and breaks through the wrapping paper! 

Reindeer Pull. Distribute a Jump Rope to a pair of children. The two children are hitched together by one child placing the rope around the waist of his partner who is a Reindeer (i.e., “Rudolph”) and the other child is “Santa” holding onto the rope ends or handles. When “Santa” gives the signal “Giddy up” the Reindeer, “Rudolph” is to gallop, moving forward. Add some fun holiday music, such as “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer or “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” When the music stops, have the children switch places, taking turns being “Rudolph” and “Santa.” This is a favorite activity as children go prancing around!

Snowball Throw. Give each child two pieces of white 8 1/2-by-11 inch scrap paper or 9-by-12 inch inexpensive easel paper. Have them wad each piece of paper up and make two “snowballs.” Divide the game playing area in half by placing a jump rope or clothesline on the ground. Divide the children into equal numbers and place them facing each other on opposite sides of the rope. Have the guests drop their snowballs onto the ground. Tell them to pick up their snowballs (one at a time) and throw them across the rope to the opposite side when the music starts. (I like to play the song “The Heat Is On”). Now we have a good old-fashioned Snowball Throw going on! The Snowball Throw is over when the music ends. For instant cleanup, have the children try to make a basket as they toss their snowball into a waste basket or brown paper grocer bag.

Holiday Musical Balloons. Give each child an inflated balloon. Christmas Colors: Red and Green. Hanukkah colors: Blue and White. Kwanzaa Colors: Black, Red and Green. I like to use 9” or 11” balloons that are of helium quality, as they are “thicker skinned” and do not pop as easily. Let each child write (help if needed) their name on the balloon with a permanent marker. Have children sit down in the open space. Instruct them to stand up and keep the balloon in the air using their hands when they hear music (play rockin’ holiday tunes). When the music stops they are to grab their balloon and sit down immediately. The game continues with the children “keeping” their balloons in the air when the music is playing and holding their balloon and sitting down when the music stops. Provide further physical challenges by asking the children to keep the balloons in the air with different body parts: one finger, an elbow, a knee, a foot, their head. Be creative!

Hang the Stockings. Christmas is coming and its time to hang the stockings on the fireplace. How fast can you do it? String a clothesline between two chairs or two trees. Provide baskets of assorted Christmas stockings (regular socks will work just as well) and spring-type Wooden Clothespins. Young children find enjoyment just in hanging them up. Its a fine motor skill, challenging children to use the small muscles in their fingers. Divide older children into teams and have them “beat the clock.”

Indoor Ice Skating. Attach paper plates to the bottom of children’s shoes with big rubber bands or by wrapping masking tape around the shoe and plate. The children are now ready to skate away. This technique works great on carpet. For hardwood or tile floors, simply wear a thick pair of wool socks. Add some music (i.e., “The Skater’s Waltz”) and play freeze skating. When the music is playing, “All Skate.” When the music stops, children freeze in place.

Ring the Bell. Hang a bell or Jingle Wrap from the ceiling or beam. Have children stand inside a Hoop and throw a Beanbag or Foam Ball and try to “Ring the Bell.”

Very Merry Christmas Wish. This game is based on the old Duck Duck Goose/Tisket a Tasket song activity. Have all the children sit down in a circle and choose one child to be “It.” “It” walks around the outside of the circle, holding the jingle bell or Jingle Wrap, while the group sings (to the tune: “A Tisket a Tasket”)

It’s Christmas, It’s Christmas,
And all our friends are with us.
I’ll choose the one to give my wish
a Very Merry Christmas!

The child walking around with the jingle bell rings it and then drops it behind one of the children sitting there. That player picks up the bell and runs after “It,” who is running around the circle back to his place in the circle. The player holding the jingle bell is now “It” and walks around the outside of the circle, dropping the jingle bell behind someone who has not yet had a turn. The game ends when every player has had a chance to ring and drop the bell.

Scrambled Eggs and Icebergs. Tell the kids that when they hear the words “scrambled eggs,” they are to jog around in the open space without bumping into each other. When they hear the word, “icebergs,” they are to freeze in place without falling down. Tell them you’ll also give them other movement commands, such as “jump,” “march,” “tiptoe,” etc. When they hear the new command, they must switch to the new movement. Try to trick them by repeating a command twice in a row!

Infant and Toddler Movement Scarves

According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children, good toys for young children are ones that “match their stages of development and emerging abilities.” Toddler Movement Scarves (MOOVIT) are sized for the very young child (birth-36 months old). Each Toddler Movement Scarf consists of 3 colorful 10” square sheer scarves securely attached to a velcro wrist band. It’s an appropriate version of the “streamer ribbon” for the toddler set. Here are several fun activities that develop gross and fine motor skills, promote moderate to vigorous physical activity, and boost brain development. Get moovin’ and groovin’ with your little ones!

Floating Scarves Ages: birth-18 months
Lie the infant on its back and move the scarves above their face. Slowly move your hand up and down, in circles, and to the right and left. This activity provides practice with visual tracking.

Peek-A-Boo Ages: birth-18 months
Sit on the floor with the baby, and cover your face with the scarves. Take off the scarves and say, “Peek-a-boo.” Do this a few times before trying it on the baby. Then cover the baby’s head with the scarves. Stop immediately if the baby shows any sign of disliking this. Pull the scarves off and say “Peek-a-boo.” Along with being fun, peek-a-boo teaches babies the concept of object permanence, which occurs somewhere between the ages of 4 and 12 months. A baby learns that even if something is out of sight, it still exists. 

Peek-A-Toy Ages: 8-18 months
Sit on the floor with the baby. Cover a toy with the scarves and say, “Where’s the toy?” Let the baby find the toy by pulling off the scarves. This activity promotes eye-hand coordination and fine motor skills.
Car Wash Ages: 8-18 months
Encourage gross motor development by attaching the scarves to a pole or chairs to create a tunnel or “car wash” for the baby to crawl through.

Movement Exploration Ages: 2 + years
Encourage children to use their imagination and be creative with the scarf. It can be a tail on a horse, a butterfly, a falling leaf, etc. Run with it and pretend it’s a kite. Look at the world through the tint of the fine mesh fabric. What do you see? What else can you do with your scarf? Movement exploration allows children to problem solve, explore spatial relationship skills, and use their large muscles.

Scarf Dancing Ages: 2 + years
Start the music and bodies start moving. With a scarf in their hand or around their wrist, encourage the children to dance and move about freely in the open space. Suggest to the children that they move the scarf fast, slow, high, low, side to side, and all around. Tell them that when the music stops, they are to stop and freeze (stand motionless like a statue). When the music starts again, children resume dancing. Ask children to follow along as you swish the scarf across the front of your body, make figure eights in the air, circle the scarf in front of your body like a Ferris wheel or circle it over your head like a helicopter blade.Try to trick the dancers by starting and stopping the music quickly. They love the element of surprise! Use all different types of music: fast, slow, classical, rock, salsa. When playing a slow song, suggest the children twirl, leap and float to the music. Scarf dancing promotes cross-lateral movements (crossing the midline) and develops body and space relationships, agility, flexibility, and listening skills.

Run Like the Wind Ages: 2 + years
On your mark, get set, get ready, GO! Have children run from one boundary to another with their scarf in hand or on their wrist. They will ask to do it again and again. Running, is a locomotor skill and a form of vigorous physical activity that increases the heart rate while improving fitness.

Musical Follow the Leader Ages: 2 + years 
Play “Follow the Leader.” Have children stand in a line, one person behind the other. When the music starts, the child at the head of the line does a movement with the scarf and all children will move their scarf in the same way as the leader (i.e., waving scarf overhead, swinging arms back and forth, jumping with the scarf, galloping with the scarf, etc.) When the music stops the child that was at the front of the line goes to the back and the next child in line becomes the leader. The music starts again and the game continues until everyone has had a chance to be the leader.

Shake to My Lou Ages: 2 + years
Use the scarf as you sing the following song and do the appropriate movements

Shake to My Lou (Tune: “Skip to My Lou”)Shake, shake, shake to my Lou, (Shake scarf in front of body)
Shake, shake, shake to my Lou,
Shake, shake, shake to my Lou,
Shake to my Lou my darling.
Shake up high, shake down low, (Shake scarf overhead, then down by feet)
Shake up high, shake down low,
Shake up high, shake down low,
Shake to my Lou my darling.
Shake to the right, shake to the left, (Shake scarf on one side of body and then the other)
Shake to the right, shake to the left,
Shake to the right, shake to the left,
Shake to my Lou my darling.
Shake it out, shake it in, (Shake scarf with arms extended to the sides, bring arms together in front of body)
Shake it out, shake it in,
Shake it out, shake it in,
Shake to my Lou my darling.

This Rope’s Not Just for Jumping!

The jump rope is one of the most inexpensive and versatile pieces of equipment your child or school can own. The jump rope has been neglected, made available primarily for girls, and has been used for a single purpose: jumping. The rope should be 7-8 feet in length and be flexible and pliable. With a little imagination and creativity, look at the rope and think of all the things you can do with it besides jumping.

Snakes: Two people hold each end of the rope and wiggle it by the feet of the children like it’s a snake. The object is that the kids have to jump over the “snake.”

Walking the Snake: Place a 16’ jump rope on the ground in a zigzag pattern. Invite the children to walk on the rope as if it were a tightrope. This simple activity builds a surprising number of skills! Eye-foot coordination…balance…taking turns…and more.

High Water – Low Water: Two people hold each end of the rope. Children take turns leaping over the rope. Increase the height after everyone has had a turn. Provide a mat for safe landings.

Wind the Clock: One person spins around while holding one end of the rope. The rope is swung around in a circle along the ground. Children jump over the rope as it nears their feet. The children usually chant a nursery rhyme like “Hickory Dickory Dock” or some other rhyme to make it more fun.

Jump the Brook: Two ropes placed on the ground in the shape of a “V” become the “brook.” The ropes touch at one end and are angled so that each jump across the brook is longer and becomes a bigger jump.

Rope Obstacle Course: Thread a rope between the slots or notches in the top of two cones for jumping over or crawling under. Make three circles with three ropes. Jump from one circle to the next. Lay a rope in a straight line that is to be followed or straddled. Place two ropes parallel to each other and one foot apart. This can be a path for walking, jogging, jumping or hopping.

All Aboard: Young children don’t really have the coordination to jump rope, but they can hang onto the rope with a bunch of their friends and pretend to be a train. Make your very own Wooden Train Whistle and with a “Choo! Choo!” children can move from place to place while having fun!

Make A Shape: Ask children to place their rope on the ground and make a circle. Call out directions for children to, “Jump into the circle. Turn around inside the circle. Jump out of the circle. Walk around the circle. Put your foot in the circle. Put your whole body over the circle.” After children know the game, move on to other shapes such as a triangle or square.

Remember, most of these activities can be accomplished using your homemade Bread Bag Jump Rope or even a thick piece of yarn.

Discount School Supply® Product Recommendations:
Nylon Jump Ropes (RPST or JMPRP16)
Angeles® Tumbling Mat (TMAT)
Obstacle Course Activity Set (OCSET)
Wooden Train Whistles (CHOO)
Jumbo Roving Yarn (ROVING)

An Egg-cellent Game!

I must share with you a new “find” that I just LOVE! It encourages movement and provides a multitude of other benefits too — balance, coordination, cooperation, and fine motor skills. The item, Egg and Spoon Race (AP25028J) gives a new twist to the old classic Egg and Spoon Pass. This new version is definitely appropriate for the toddler and preschoolers but school-agers love it too. Parents and teachers will also “crack-up” when they see what happens when the egg drops from the spoon. Instead of chocolate bunnies and Easter candy, I’m planning on adding Egg and Spoon Race to all five of my grandchildren’s baskets! What fun we’ll have as we play the following game.

Egg and Spoon Race
Materials:
Egg and Spoon Race (4 plastic spoons, 4 egg bean bags, 4 re-breakable eggshells) – AP25028J
Colored Cones – SETC
Hop Around StepsHOPPA
Available indoor or outdoor space

Set Up:
1. Place cones 10-20 feet across from each other to designate “start” and “finish” lines.

2. Place Hop Around Steps two feet apart from each other between the start and finish lines.

Let’s Get Started:1. Divide the children into four groups (teams or squads) of equal numbers. Children in each team stand in a straight line or row, one person behind the other.

2. Provide the first child on each team with a spoon and egg.

3. The first child places the egg in the bowl of the spoon.

4. On the command, “Ready, Set, GO!” the race begins as the child walks in and around the Hop Around Steps to the “finish” cone on the opposite side, circles around it, and walks back to his team.

5. He gives the egg and spoon to the second member of his team who then walks holding the egg and spoon and weaving in and out of the Hop Around Steps and back to the start where he passes the egg to next member on his team.

6. The game is over when every child has had a turn carrying the egg in the spoon and the child who started the relay returns to the head of the line.

7. If the egg drops out of the spoon, the child must stop, pick up the egg bean bag and eggshell, put it back together, place it on his spoon and then continue.

Furthermore: 
 • With younger children have them just walk from the start to the finish and drop the egg into a bucket.

• With older children challenge them to travel in a different way, i.e., run, jump, walk backwards, skip.

• Toddlers can toss the egg and watch them break. The eggs actually sound like real eggs breaking when they hit the floor.

• Set out a Balance Beam (248) and have the children hold the egg and spoon as they walk across the beam.