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)

A Whale of a Role Model!

I feel very fortunate to live near the ocean in Santa Cruz, CA.  It continually inspires me to venture outside and enjoy all that it affords.  It is a place of beauty, incredible wonders, and home to the greatest diversity of life on earth.  This week, humpback whales can be spotted not far from the beach.  They are joining herds of sea lions and flocks of birds to dine on the abundant anchovies that are present in the bay.  In the photo below taken by Chris Elmenhurst, you can see a mother humpback teaching her baby calf how to feed on the tiny green fish. The whale mother and her baby will share the strongest of bonds for one year with the mother preparing and strengthening her newborn for the long migration up the coast.  It’s common to see a baby trying to perform a good breach over and over and then have mom come up unexpectedly to show junior how it should be done.

Photo by Chris Edinger at Surf the Spot - click photo to view more photos.

Photo by Chris Elmhurst at Surf the Spot – click photo to view more photos.

While I was watching the humpbacks, I also spotted a mother and son exercising together on the beach.  I couldn’t help but notice the correlation between the mother whale with her calf and the mother and son lifting weights.  Just as the mother whale role models for her baby, so does a physically active parent role model for her child.

sharron whale 2

Parents who encourage and endorse physical activities in their own lives are more likely to pass on these good habits to their children.  Research shows that children who exercise do better in school, control themselves better, and have fewer behavior issues. More good news is that children who lead active lifestyles are likely to remain active as adults and pass on their healthy lifestyle habits to their own children.

Consider the following benefits of regular physical activity for growing children:

  • Promotes healthy growth and development
  • Builds strong bones and muscles
  • Improves cardiovascular fitness
  • Increases flexibility
  • Improves balance, coordination and strength
  • Assists with the development of gross motor and fine motor skills
  • Provides the opportunity to develop fundamental movement skills
  • Helps to establish connections between different parts of the brain
  • Improves concentration and thinking skills
  • Provides opportunities to develop social skills and make friends
  • Reduces feelings of depression, stress, and anxiety
  • Improves sleep
  • Promotes psychological well-being, including higher levels of self-esteem and self-
  • concept

Whether you’re a parent or a teacher, be a role model. Show children physical activity is important by enthusiastically participating in it!

Pet Pinecones

sharron pet pinecone 4

Yes, there are such things and the grandchildren loved making and playing with them.  Making them is easy…just find a favorite pinecone, a stick, and some string or twine and, last but not least, an able and willing Daddy to make them.  I had never heard of such make-believe pets, until Daddy Dave shared a favorite activity invented by his dad…

When I was 10 we were on a family backpacking trip with a group that included two other boys around my age.  During the hike out we were constantly throwing pinecones at each other and generally being destructive as boys of that age are wont to do.  My Dad talked us into tying pinecones to a piece of string and seeing how long a string we could keep them on while still controlling them.  He kept score of who was able to keep their pinecones from hitting the most large rocks in the trail and it kept us under control. All in all it was just a good way to channel our 10 year old boy energy into something other than hurting each other.

sharron pet pinecone 2

This is how traditions start and this is our second year of making Pet Pinecones…and it won’t be our last! Perhaps, you might want to try this with your children or the children in your care.  Get outside, explore, create, and let your imaginations run wild!

Materials:

Stick

Pinecone

Twine or string

sharron pet pinecone 1

Directions:

  1. Find a favorite stick
  2. Find a large pinecone
  3. Tie the pinecone to the stick with twine or string
  4. Name your pet pinecone– “Piney,” “Brownie,” “Mr Cone”
  5. Go for a walk or a run with your pet pinecone
  6. Have fun!

sharron pet pinecone 3

Did you know that the stick was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame in 2008?

Stay tuned…the BEST is yet to come…sharing more stick fun in my next post!

Nature Bracelets

I just returned from a fantastic family reunion in South Lake Tahoe.  Three of the five grandchildren were present and activities for the week included a hike at beautiful Fallen Leaf Lake.  We got close and personal with chipmunks, a snake, and a Steller’s Jay which was quite bold in stealing cherries from our picnic lunch!  The kids found sticks, went swimming in the lake, and enjoyed skipping rocks.  I happened to bring a roll of wide masking tape with me so the children could make Nature Bracelets of the items they collected on their hike.

Materials:

2 inch wide masking tape or Duck Tape®

sharron nature bracelets 1

Directions:

    1. Cut or tear a strip of the masking tape about an inch longer than the circumference of each child’s wrist.
    2. Wrap the masking tape, sticky-side out, around each child’s wrist.
    3. Go on a hike or nature walk.
    4. Encourage children to pick up anything they like (except live insects!) and stick it to their bracelet.  They discovered that flowers, petals, leaves, dandelions, pine needles, pine cone scales, grass, and even small rocks stuck to their bracelet.

sharron nature bracelets 3

Suggestions & Variations:

  • When you take a hike again, have the children collect only one type of nature item–leaves, flowers–or collect only items that are one color–green, brown, etc.
  • As the children find items, have them arrange their found items in a pattern, i.e., one leaf, one rock, one flower, one leaf, one rock, one flower, etc.
  • Have the children compare their bracelets with a friend.  How are they the same?  How are they different?

sharron nature bracelets 2

You know those sticks the children and I found.  We kept them.  My next two posts will showcase what we did with them.  You’ll be surprised!

Discount School Supply® Product Recommendations:
Duck Tape® Solid Colors (DTAPE)
Regular Masking Tape (34MT)

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)

Make Friends with Mother Earth!

Make friends with three feet of…something…outdoors.  Have you ever stepped outdoors and focused on a small area — say, three feet — and spent some time just observing and exploring?  Give children a magnifying glass, three feet of yarn, a small shovel or rake, and a bucket.  Have them place the yarn on the ground in the shape of a circle or any shape of their choosing.  Using the tools they brought with them, encourage the children to dig, rake, investigate, wonder and discover…

sharron make friends

What’s happening on the surface?

What lives there?

What’s growing there?

What eats it or sleeps in it or plays in it?

What color is it and does it always stay that color?

Does it look different at different times of the day?

What happens when the weather changes or seasons come and go?

Does your adopted spot change?

Ladybird

Whether your outdoor space has grassy areas to enjoy or piles of dirt or plain cement sidewalks, the kinds of questions children can answer (and ask!) are endless.  Encourage the development of their sensory and deductive skills.  Pick small areas to monitor and explore for a fun and educational long-term project — and one easily connected with art, science, and literacy components in your curriculum.

Discount School Supply® Product Recommendations:
Excellerations™ Super Magnifiers – set of 6 (BIGEYE – $15.99)
Wonder Eye Jumbo Magnifiers – set of 3 (EYESEE – $16.99)
Jumbo Roving Yarn – 5 lbs (ROVING – $69.99)
Small Shovels – set of 24 (SMSHOV24 – $23.99)
Shovels and Rakes – set of 8 (SHOVRK8 – $14.99)
Small Bucket with Spout, Clear (SMBUCK – $6.49)

Physical Activity for Children with Special Needs

childrunningwadult

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)