Streamer Ribbons & Scarves – A Rainbow of Fun!

rnbw

Put a scarf or ribbon in a child’s hand and movement automatically begins! Dance, leap, run, twirl, spin, gallop, jump, throw, catch – the active play it provides is never ending! I highly recommend that you have enough scarves or ribbons for each child to have one for each hand.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes:
Promotes cross-lateral movements (midline development)
Develops body and spatial awareness
Directionality
Laterality
Gross and fine motor coordination
Eye-hand coordination
Moderate to vigorous physical activity
Agility
Flexibility
Listening skills
Cooperative play
Creativity
Imagination

Movement Exploration and Creative Movement
Using one ribbon or scarf, move it…

  • Up and down
  • Side to side
  • In a circle
  • In a figure 8
  • Above your head
  • Below your knees
  • Between your legs
  • At your side
  • In front of you
  • Behind you
  • Like a broom (moving it side to side in front of body)
  • Like a fishing pole (casting or throwing it out in front of body)
  • Like a hammer (moving it up and down with quick wrist movements)
  • Like ocean waves (shaking it in front of body)
  • Like a rainbow (moving it in an arc from one side of body to the other
  • Like a river (dragging it across the floor or ground)
  • Like tree branches in a windstorm (hold it above the head and swaying from side to side)
  • Like a tornado (spinning around and raising and lowering it)

swish

Dance, Dance, Dance
Start the music and encourage the children to dance and move about freely in the open space. When the music stops, they are to freeze (stand motionless like a statue). When the music starts again, children resume dancing. Try to trick the dancers by starting and stopping the music quickly. They love the element of surprise! Music suggestions: “I Like To Move It” by Crazy Frog (fast dancing – suggest dancing using locomotor movements—jumping with two feet, hopping, jogging). “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Judy Garland (slow dancing – suggest twirling, leaping, and floating to the music).

On Your Mark, Get Set, RUN!
With streamer ribbon or scarf in hand held high above head, have children run from one boundary to another. What child doesn’t like to run! They will ask to do it again and again. Music suggestion: “Colors of the Wind” from Disney’s movie, “Pocahontas.”

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 or streamer and all children behind the leader will move their scarf in the same way as the leader (i.e., waving scarf overhead, jumping with the streamer, swinging arms back and forth with scarf, etc.) When the music stops, the child that was at the front of the line goes to the back of the line 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. Music suggestion: “Happy” by Pharrell Williams.

 

Tails
Set up boundaries using ropes or cones in the available space. Each child tucks a streamer or scarf 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 ribbon out of their waistbands and drop them to 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 tail in their waistband. Once the ribbon or scarf is secure in their waistband, the child returns to the game and resumes pulling tails (ribbons/scarves). Music suggestion: “U Can’t Touch This” by MC Hammer.

Discount School Supply® Product Recommendations

  • Rainbow Dancing Wrist Bands (RNBW)
  • Streamer Scarves (SWISH)

Rollin’ in the New Year Roller Board Style

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The roller board, aka scooter board, is a super-duper piece of equipment to acquire. Inclement weather—pouring rain, snow flurries or freezing temperatures—can keep us inside. Pull out the roller board and add it to your environment for indoor play. Here are 10 rockin’ and rollin’ ideas and activities appropriate for three to five year olds. First, though, some safety considerations and benefits:

Safety Recommendations:

  • Only sit or lay on the roller board
  • Never let a child stand on a roller board
  • Keep hands clear from the bottom of the roller board
  • Use handles to carry the roller board
  • Tie back long hair and tuck in loose clothing
  • Check wheels regularly
  • Prevent roller boards from crashing into others

Benefits:

  • Upper body strengthening (arms, legs and hands)
  • Core strengthening
  • Motor planning
  • Balance
  • Bilateral coordination
  • Physical endurance
  • Tactile stimulation
  • Kinesthetic stimulation
  • Vestibular stimulation
  • Crossing midline skills
  • Eye-hand coordination

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And now for the activities!

Movement Exploration Experiences

Have children explore different ways to move around the space using the roller board.

  • One hand on roller board
  •  Two hands on roller board
  • Two hands and one knee on roller board
  • Kneel on roller board
  • Sit on roller board, move backwards
  • Sit on roller board, move forward
  • Lie on stomach (prone position), move forward
  • Lie on stomach, move backwards

Hoop Ball Shooting

  • Place Hoop Ball Goal in open space
  • Child sits on roller board holding a ball
  • Child moves forward using feet to the Hoop Ball Goal and attempts to shoot the ball into the hoop
  • As the child becomes more proficient, challenge him/her to move farther way from the hoop (no more than six to eight feet)

Rope Pull

    • Adult holds one end of a long jump rope
    • Rope goes under roller board and between wheels
    • Child takes prone position (lying on stomach) on roller board and grips rope at opposite end from the adult
    • Child pulls self toward adult using a hand-over-hand grip on the rope. Feet do not touch the floor

Puzzle Piece Play

  • Scatter puzzle pieces at one end of the room or space
  • Place the corresponding puzzle boards at the other end
  •  Child sits on roller board
  • child moves around space using feet, finds and grasps a puzzle piece
  • Child travels with puzzle piece to find the matching puzzle board and puts the piece into its place
  • Game continues until all the puzzles have their matching pieces

Roller Board & Cone Obstacle

  • Set up three cones in a line about 3-4 feet from each other
  • Child takes prone position on roller board and uses hands and arms to propel roller board around cones and back to starting position. Body is balanced on roller board, feet do not touch floor, and hands and arms work in rhythmic coordination.
  • Child can try the same challenge sitting on knees on the roller board.

Free Ride

  • Child sits cross-legged on roller board
  • Child holds a hoop and adult pulls the child around
  • Speed of travel depends on the child’s stability on the roller board and his or her enjoyment of speed

Fly Like an Eagle

  • Need large, clear space to play
  • Child takes prone position on roller board
  • Tell child he/she is going to “fly like an eagle” across the room or down a long hallway
  • Adult holds on to child’s feet and gives child a big push
  • Child will have to work hard to keep head, arms (held out like wings), and legs lifted while moving forward

Body Bowling

  • Set up bowling pins at one end of the room
  • Just like in the “Fly Like and Eagle” activity above, child takes prone position on the roller board
  • Child keeps arms out in front (i.e. a superman “flying” position)
  • Adult holds onto child’s feet and gives child a big push forward
  • Child attempts to knock down the bowling pins

Grocery Shopping

  • Scatter plastic fruits and vegetables around the room
  • On the opposite end of the room, place rainbow colored baskets
  • Child sits on roller board
  • Child moves around space using feet and picks up a fruit or vegetable
  • Child travels with the piece of play food and puts it into the matching colored basket
  • Game continues until all of the fruits and vegetables have been “bought.”

Crazy Driver

  • Mark of a path or road using Mavalus Removable Poster Tape. Create a single line of tape or two lines to form a “lane” for the child to stay in. Make curves, zigzags, twists or turns.
  • Challenge child to “drive” along the road either in prone position, sitting on knees, or sitting on bottom

Product Recommendations

Excellerations™ Get Up and Go! Dice

I am passionate about putting into teacher’s and children’s hands materials that promote physical activity and learning.  Excellerations™ Get Up and Go! Dice does just that and is a quality product from Discount School Supply®.

The Excellerations™ Get Up and Go! Dice set includes:

  • 2 dice with pockets on all sides
  • 20 different movement activity cards
  • 12 numeral cards (2 each of the numbers 1-6)
  • 12 dice dot cards (2 each of the dots numbering 1-6)
  • 12 blank cards

The two large seven-inch vinyl-covered foam dice have pockets on all six sides that hold activity and number cards.  Insert six different activity cards in each of the pockets on one die.  On the other die put the numeral cards, either showing the dots or the numeral.  Depending on the developmental skills level of the children, I use the numeral cards for numbers 1, 2, and 3 and the dot cards for numbers 4, 5, and 6.  Young children may not recognize the larger numerals, but they are usually able to count the dots or “pips.”  Did you know that the dots on dice are called “pips?”  The word “pip” commonly means a “spot” or a “speck,” and perhaps that’s why the dots on dice, as well as dominoes, are called pips.  Don’t shy away from the big word, i.e., “pips” for “dots.”  It is very common for adults to simplify their language when talking to young children.  Throwing in a new word now and then is a great opportunity to build vocabulary! If you’re going to explain what something is, you might as well use the proper word the first time. Children may not always pick up on those big words, but they certainly won’t if they don’t ever hear them.  So go ahead, use words like “identical” instead of “same” and “pips” instead of “dots.” You’ll be surprised at what the children will pick up on when you give them the chance!

kids stretching

Here is a fun favorite activity that I like to play indoors or outside.  You’ll find more ideas in the Activity Guide that comes with it.

Roll the Dice for Exercise

How to play:

  1. Sit children in a large circle.
  2. One child is chosen to roll the dice.
  3. Child with dice stands up and rolls the dice into the middle of the circle.
  4. The child identifies the activity to be performed and the number of times to perform the activity by counting the pips or stating the number shown on the die.
  5. All children in the circle stand up and perform the activity that is lead by the child who rolled the dice.  All the children are to count as they perform the movement.
  6. When finished, the child who had rolled the dice gives it to another child who continues the game by rolling the dice and leading the group in the movement activity that is shown on the movement die and counting the number of times they are to do the activity (as shown on the number die).
  7. The game ends when every child has had a chance to “Roll the Dice for Exercise.”

Suggestions & Variations:

  • If the child who rolled the die has difficulty counting, let the group count the dots or pips out loud on the number die, as the child points to them.
  • Take pictures of the children doing a favorite movement activity (i.e., jumping jacks, jogging in place, etc.) and adhere it to a blank card.  This personalizes it to the group of children in your classroom.
  • This activity is also a great one to use when children are in transition –i.e., waiting for the bus or their group’s turn, etc.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes:

  1. Physical activity: any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that results in energy expenditure
  2. Gross motor skills: using the large muscles of the arms, legs and trunk
  3. Cooperative play: games and activities that the participants play together rather than against one another
  4. Listening skills: ability to follow verbal directions
  5. Language development: speaking, communicating
  6. Mathematics: number sense of quantity and counting; one-to-one correspondence
  7. Social emotional development: taking turns; promotes children’s self-esteem and confidence

Get active, get moving, get healthy…and start rolling the Excellerations™ Get Up and Go! Dice.  Everyone will be a winner!

The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything!

I’m putting together a list of “Books That Move You” for an upcoming presentation I will be doing for the California Library Association State Conference in November (I’ll make sure to share that list in a future post).  The title of this blog is the title of a really great and interactive book I’ve read to my preschoolers every October.  It’s become a Halloween classic, though the word “Halloween” never even enters the text.

The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything, by Linda Williams and illustrated by Megan Lloyd is about a little old lady who goes out into the woods to get some herbs, spices, nuts and seeds, but stays out until nightfall. Walking home she meets a pair of shoes that go CLOMP! CLOMP!  “Get out of my way, you two big shoes! I’m not afraid of you,” she said.  She kept on walking down the path, but the shoes clomp-clomped behind her. She meets more clothing: a pair of pants that go WIGGLE, WIGGLE, a shirt that goes SHAKE, SHAKE, two gloves that go CLAP, CLAP, and a hat that went NOD, NOD. She tells each one “Get out of my way! I’m not afraid of you,” but they all follow her, making their noises.  When she got near her cottage, the Little Old Lady encounters a very huge, very scary pumpkin head that goes BOO! BOO! The Little Old Lady runs home, hearing all those sounds behind her.  When she’s back inside her cottage, a KNOCK, KNOCK, challenges her to open her door. Again, the shoes, pants, shirt, gloves, hat and pumpkin head try to scare her.  When she bravely proclaimed, “You can’t scare me,” the unhappy pumpkin head asks, “What shall become of us?”  But she had an idea.  The little old lady gives them all something useful to do.  She found a place for them in her garden, as a scarecrow, where they could scare all the birds away.

Students can participate in the reading by getting up and moving to the words. I encourage them to:

“Stomp their feet” like the two shoes that went CLOMP, CLOMP

“Wiggle their legs” like the pair of pants that went WIGGLE, WIGGLE

“Shake their shoulders” like the shirt that went SHAKE, SHAKE

“Clap their hands” like the two gloves that went CLAP, CLAP

“Move their head up and down” like the hat that went NOD, NOD

“Say “Boo, Boo!”” like the scary pumpkin head that went BOO, BOO!

We also act this out as a play with used children’s clothes that I find at the local thrift shop–a pair of hiking boots, a white shirt, a black top hat, a pair of white gloves and a plastic Halloween trick or treat pumpkin (jack-o-lantern) bucket. Don’t forget the little old lady props–a hat, shawl, apron, and a small basket with a handle.  Each of the seven children in the play gets the appropriate prop(s) for their part.  The remainder of the children in the group who are not in the play, but watching the play, participate by chanting and acting out the story with their body parts. The little old lady dresses up in her clothes.  The child who is the pair of shoes, holds the small pair of hiking boots (one in each hand) and stomps them on the ground when he hears his part CLOMP, CLOMP; the child who is the pair of pants holds the pants with two hands and WIGGLE, WIGGLES them from side to side; the child who is the shirt holds the shirt with two hands and SHAKE, SHAKES it up and down; the child who is the pair of gloves puts them on his hands and claps them together when he hears his part CLAP, CLAP; the child who is the hat puts it on his head and moves his head up and down with a NOD, NOD; the child who is the pumpkin head holds the jack-o-lantern bucket and moves it back and forth in front of his face saying, BOO, BOO!  In the story when the little old lady is sleeping (actor who is little old lady pretends to sleep), the children place the items on a children’s coat rack or clothes tree to make the scarecrow.  If you do not have a small clothes tree (I used one I had in the Dramatic Play Area), lay the clothing on the floor to make the scarecrow.

The children love this story and can’t wait to have a part in the play.  We read it over and over again. It is both scary and fun!  The text has lots of repetition and sounds/actions, making it a perfect cumulative story for an interactive read-aloud.

It’s Screen-Free Week! Let’s Play Outside!

April 29 – May 5, 2013 is Screen-Free Week, an annual national celebration coordinated by the Center for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC), a national advocacy organization devoted to reducing the impact of commercialism on children.  Children, families, schools, and communities spend seven days TURNING OFF entertainment SCREEN media (TV, video games, computers, iPads, smartphones) and “TURN ON LIFE.”

Did you know that–

  1. Preschool children spend “an astonishing average of 32 hours a week” in front of screens—and it’s more for older children. CCFC writes, “Excessive screen time is harmful for children—it’s linked to poor school performance, childhood obesity, attention problems, and the erosion of creative play (the foundation of learning) constructive problem solving, and creativity.”
  2. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under 2 should watch NO TV and children age 2 and over should watch less that 2 hours per day.  But, on any given day, 29% of babies under the age of 1 are watching TV and videos for an average of about 90 minutes.  Twenty-three percent have a  television in their bedroom.
  3. TV watching “rewires” a child’s brain, leading to attentional issues by the age of 7.  The “pace of TV is sped up” leading the young infant to believe that the “quick scene shifts of video images” is normal.  TV watching may over stimulate the child’s brain, “causing permanent changes to developing neural pathways.”  As a child is staring at the TV, these hugely important neural pathways are not being developed.
  4. Developers of children’s apps for phones and tablets restrict screen time for their own children.  More than one of these developers said, “We have a rule of no screen time during the week, unless it’s clearly educational. On the weekends, they can play.  I give them a limit of half an hour and then stop. It can be too addictive, too stimulating for the brain.”
  5. Some toddlers are becoming so addicted to iPads and smartphones that they require psychological treatment.  “They can’t cope and become addicted, reacting with tantrums and uncontrollable behavior when they are taken away.”  Young technology addicts (some as young as 4 years old) experience the same withdrawal symptoms as alcoholics or heroin addicts and are enrolled in a “digital detox” program that weans children off computer games and mobile phones.

sharron kid watching tv

This information is disconcerting, to say the least, and needs to be taken seriously.  I worry about our children’s social emotional development, ability to interact with others, language development, and their communication skills.  Research shows that children learn one-on-one from people, not from videos and television!

“The skills children will always need to thrive–deep thinking, the ability to differentiate fact from hype, creativity, self-regulation, empathy and self-reflection–aren’t learned in front of any screen. They are learned through face-to-face communication, hands-on exploration of the world, opportunities for silence and time to dream.”~Dr. Susan Linn, Director, Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood

sharron kids climbing trees

Screen-Free Week reminds us to go outside and play.  How about committing to 30-60 minutes of active play each day.  Disconnect from all things electronic and do one of the following–

sharron kids running

Discount School Supply® Product Recommendations:

Decorate a Kite, kit for 12 (KIDSKITE)

Colorations® Washable Sidewalk Chalk, 50 pieces (SIDEWALK)

Shapes Walking Rope (WALKROPE)

Kickball Kit (KICKBALL)

Flying Discs (FLYD) and Soft Flying Discs (SFDISC)

14′ ClassicRider® Trike (REDRDR14)

Excellerations™ Junior Hoop Ball Goal (HOOP3)

Obstacle Course Activity Set (OCSET)

Rainbow Dancing Wrist Bands (RNBW)

Education Through Movement! Building the Foundation

This summer I had the privilege of attending a week long HighScope® training on music and movement. As a movement and physical activity specialist, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to participate in this highly respected professional development course.

I met people from all over the world–India, Dutch Caribbean, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and the United States, from Michigan, Tennessee, Maine, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Washington. I did a lot of moving, dancing, and singing while learning new strategies and techniques for sharing music and movement with young children and successful methods for integrating movement and music into other curriculum areas. Here are several that stood out and which I am beginning to incorporate in my teacher trainings and workshops:

 

Provide a safe and supportive classroom environment where the children feel they have a say in their own learning. Have children stand in a loose formation, rather than a circle or a line, so they can be anonymous when working in their personal space, making sounds and doing actions at the same time as the other children. This allows for children to express themselves more readily when using exploration and problem solving.

 
Ask the children to describe movements as they are doing them. Having children think about and label their movements leads to those movements becoming purposeful and planned. For example, “I am patting my knees with my hands.” Children develop language skills as well as self-confidence.
 
Once children are comfortable with a movement activity, suggest that they lead it in their own way. Depending on the activity and the length of time available, one, a few, or all of the children can be leaders. Over time, make sure that every child has a chance to lead some activities.
 
Use only one method of presenting an activity or concept. Give verbal directions or silently demonstrate the movement or silently provide tactile guidance. Children respond better when you use only one presentation method.

Remember the child’s pitch range for singing is high–sing higher. Children have short vocal chords and will sing in tune more easily when you pitch songs in their higher range (middle C to A on the piano). As an adult, you may need to call the cat (“Here kitty, kitty”) to feel that place in your voice that is best for children and lead from there.

Steady beat is the consistent repetitive pulse that lies within every rhyme, song, or musical selection. Pat steady beat with both hands or rock to the steady beat. Mother Goose nursery rhymes are wonderfully appropriate for incorporating steady beat.

Action, thought, and language are combined in “Learner SAY & DO,” a strategy that helps children organize steady beat movements and movement sequences. Children speak words that define actions or body parts touched (SAY) and the match the movement to the words (DO). For example, to learn the locomotor movement of marching, children say “March” each time weight is alternatively transferred from one foot to the other.

When first introducing equipment (balls, scarves, bean bags, rhythm instruments, etc.) to children, allow for opportunities to freely explore and play with it before expecting them to use the equipment correctly. Don’t just jump into the “game or activity” you have planned. It’s fun to put out several different pieces of equipment together and see what the children do with all of the pieces, whether exploring them individually or using the pieces together with a friend.

To acquire children’s attention while moving, sing “YOO-HOO” and have the group echo it back to you as they cease all activity. You can also say, “STOP SIGN.” Then you are able to give directions for the next activity or movement.

As you introduce movement experiences to children, remember these “golden rules:”

  • Keep them short.
  • Keep them simple.
  • Make them enjoyable.
  • Design them to assure success.
  • Suggest rather than direct.

Trick or Treat Halloween Game

The element of suspense combined with movement makes this a spooktacular active Halloween game. Will you pick a “Treat” or have to do a “Trick?”

Materials needed:
Jack-o-Lantern Bucket or decorated Trick or Treat Bag
Orange construction paper
Pumpkin cookie cutter or stencil shape
Halloween stickers
Pen or markers
Scissors
Halloween music

Before You Begin:
1. Trace and cut pumpkin shapes out of orange construction paper. Have as many pumpkin shapes as the number of children playing plus a few more.
2. On half of the pumpkins place a Halloween sticker on one side of the paper shape and on the other side write the word “Treat.”
3. On the other pumpkin shapes write the word “Trick” on one side and a movement or exercise on the other side. Here are some ideas…
Do 10 jumping jacks
Flap your wings (arms) and fly like a bat
On hands and feet scamper like a spider
Touch your toes 10 times
Float (leap) like a ghost
Move like an elephant
Jump like a frog 10 times
Walk like Frankenstein
Hop on one foot 10 times
Gallop like a horse
Creep (on hands and knees) like a cat
Spin around 5 times
Slither (on your belly) like a snake

Let’s Get Started:
1. Have children sit in a circle.
2. Show children all the pumpkin shapes before placing them in the “Jack-o-Lantern Bucket” or “Trick or Treat Bag.”
3. When the music starts, pass around the bucket/bag.
4. When the music stops, the child that is holding the bag removes a pumpkin shape.
5. If the pumpkin shape has a sticker on it, it is a “Treat,” and the child does not have to do anything.
6. If the pumpkin shape is marked “Trick,” the child must perform the movement or exercise written on the paper (standing in the middle of the circle or moving around the outside of the circle of children).
7. The music starts again and the bag/bucket is passed. The game continues until everyone has had a turn.

Furthermore:
1. Let the children help in determining what movements to write on the “Trick” pumpkin shapes. 2. Do not read the “Trick” out loud. Instead, have the children in the circle guess what “Trick” is being performed by the child.