(This is part one in a two-part blog series)
Bubbles: What you’ll need: Liquid soap and a bubble wand
Blow bubbles with your child. Challenge him to pop the bubbles before they touch the ground. Call out various body parts for him to use to pop the bubbles.
Body Part Identification: What you’ll need: Favorite children’s books
While reading books, ask your child to point to body parts that you name in the pictures. As she masters this concept, point to body parts in books and ask her to name them. Body parts used with preschoolers might be: head, neck, ears, eyes, nose, leg, knee, back, arms, waist, chest, wrist, hips, fingers, bottom, foot, ankles, toes, elbow, shoulder, hand, and stomach.
Freeze Dance: What you’ll need: Fun music
Turn on music your child likes to dance to. Stop the music every 10-20 seconds. Challenge him to freeze in position until music starts again.
Roll The Dice: What you’ll need: One die (Use a single die for this game).
Create an activity for each of the six sides (or use the suggestions below). Allow her to roll the die, and then you all complete the activity it represents. For example:
1 = Hop on one foot 10 times 2 = Jump on two feet 10 times 3 = Skip around the room 4 = Stand and hang your hands toward your feet 5 = Act like your favorite animal 6 = Roll on the ground like a log
Walk Like The Animals: What you’ll need: Nothing
Ask your child to pretend he is an animal. He can move like the animal, look like them, sound like them, etc. Ask your child what he is doing that makes him like that animal. Allow your child to pick his own animals to imitate, but be ready to give suggestions. Here are a few examples:
Dramatic Play: What you’ll need: Favorite children’s books, music, and colorful pictures
Encourage creative movement at home with books, music, pictures, etc. Ask her to act out what she sees and hears in various stories (provide examples of books).
Feel The Beat: What you’ll need: Fun music with different tempos (slow and fast)
Play music with a slow beat and encourage your child to move in slow motion. Then play music with a fast beat and prompt them to move quickly. It might look like a graceful ballet when using slow classical music, and rowdy rocking with contemporary music.
Traffic Lights: What you’ll need: Nothing
When you are walking with your child, call out a traffic signal color.
• When you say “green light,” he should walk quickly.
• On “yellow,” he should move in slow motion.
• Finally, when you say “red,” he should stop completely.
Change the movement each time you play. You can pick the movement, or ask your child to pick one. Examples are: Gallop, jog, jump, slide, hop, skip, etc.
Follow The Leader: What you’ll need: Nothing
Play the simple game of Follow the Leader with your child when walking from place to place. Change leaders every 20-30 seconds so she gets practice both following and leading. As she masters these skills, add more challenges when you are the leader.
Mirror, Mirror: What you’ll need: Nothing
Face your child and explain that he is to move exactly like you will be moving, like a reflection in a mirror. Begin with very slow movements and prompt him to follow you. For example: tilting your head to the side, raising and lowering your hand, sticking out your tongue. As he masters mirroring slowly, add more difficulty. Take turns being the leader. You can also use this game to work on areas of health your child needs work. For example:
Flexibility: Reach for your toes Strength: Raise up onto the balls of your feet (heel raises), Stretch your arms high, Lunge forward and back, Bend to the sides, Do push-ups from a kneeling position Aerobic Fitness: Jog in place, Form a bridge with your body, Jump and move arms in place
Bean Bag Balance: What you’ll need: Beanbag or small, soft toy
Place a beanbag or small soft toy (stuffed animal) on your child’s head. Challenge him to walk from one place to the other while balancing the beanbag on his head. As he masters this, challenge him to move in different ways: sideways, backward, crawling, crab walking, on tiptoes, etc.