Keep ‘Em Moving: Good for You; Good for Your Grands!

Name one thing you can do together that has health benefits – and more – for both you and your grandchildren.    Give up? 

Get moving!

All kinds of movement.  From walking and stretching to moving to music and playing physically active games.

Somehow, warmer weather and long, sunny days make us want to be more active.  While movement helps develop a variety of school readiness skills for your grandchildren, research shows that movement activities help maintain muscle strength and reduces stress for adults.  Movement activities help children develop gross motor skills; learn social skills; and use their creativity and imagination, while participating in some healthy physical activity. School readiness means both mind and body development.  So, grab your grandchildren and get moving!

Movement and School Readiness
By giving your grandchildren the opportunity to move physically – and even better, when you move with them – you foster vocabulary and language development. When children physically move over, under, around, through, next to, above and near objects and others, they learn about prepositions – words that are an important part of being verbal and expressing oneself. When they “walk fast, crawl slowly, jump high”,  they learn about adjectives and adverbs. When they experience these and other physical movement actions, they understand the meaning of the words and how to use them in the right context.

Children also learn to follow simple directions; participate in a group (even just the two of you!); gain self-confidence; and increase their self-esteem…all important to helping prepare them for success in school and later life.

Keep in mind that creative movements can be used with or without props, such as costumes; hats; color flags, scarves or ribbons; small pillows or beanbags; musical instruments or pots, pans, lids and wooden spoons that substitute for musical instruments; rhythm sticks.

Music and Movement

…sing and dance or just have fun

…move like different animals

….go slow or fast; hop, skip, crawl, slither or slide

…move arms as well as legs

… pick out some really fast and some slower music

Physical Games

…follow the leader, taking BIG and tiny steps

…act out a story or a song

….use movement songs/stories such as ‘Goin’ on A Lion Hunt’ (see below)

Movement songs/stories can be done anywhere and can be modified depending upon where you are and what you are doing.  Movement songs/stories can be fun even while sitting in traffic in a car; waiting in a grocery store line or at the doctor’s office or a bank.  Use movement to re-energize both yourself and your grands or  whenever either of you needs a break from sitting for long periods of time, such as on an airplane; a long car trip; or at a table in a restaurant waiting for your food…just take it outside for the latter!

Here’s a website with more movement activities for, and with, children: http://www.songsforteaching.com/preschoolkindergartenearlychildhood/activity-movement-songs/

and one with great physically active games to enjoy with your grands: http://wilderdom.com/games/PhysicalActivities.html

This is a favorite of my grands that I learned from my daughter, a former preschool teacher:

Going on A Lion Hunt

Goin’ to catch a big one.
I’m not afraid.
Look, what’s up ahead?

Mud!
Can’t go over it.
Can’t go under it.
Can’t go around it.
Gotta go through it. [Make sloshing sounds and move hands as if slogging]

Goin’ on a lion hunt.
Goin’ to catch a big one.
I’m not afraid.
Look, what’s up ahead?

Sticks!
Can’t go over it.
Can’t go under it.
Can’t go around it.
Gotta go through it. [Snap fingers]

Goin’ on a lion hunt.
Goin’ to catch a big one.
I’m not afraid.
Look, what’s up ahead?

Trees!
Can’t go over it.
Can’t go under it.
Can’t go around it.
Gotta go through it. [Make gestures climbing up and down.]

Goin’ on a lion hunt.
Goin’ to catch a big one.
I’m not afraid.
Look, what’s up ahead?

Gate!
Can’t go over it.
Can’t go under it.
Can’t go around it.
Gotta go through it. [Make gate-opening gestures.]

Goin’ on a lion hunt.
Goin’ to catch a big one.
I’m not afraid.
Look, what’s up ahead?

River!
Can’t go over it.
Can’t go under it.
Can’t go around it.
Gotta go through it. [make swimming gestures]

Goin’ on a lion hunt.
Goin’ to catch a big one.
I’m not afraid.
Look, what’s up ahead?

Grass!
Can’t go over it.
Can’t go under it.
Can’t go around it.
Gotta go through it. Grass [move hands together and apart]

Goin’ on a lion hunt.
Goin’ to catch a big one.
I’m not afraid.
Look, what’s up ahead?

Cave!
Can’t go over it.
Can’t go under it.
Can’t go around it.
Gotta go through it. [act like you are feeling your way in a dark cave]

Feel yourself along the wall.
Oh, oh What’s this?
Something funny.
With a long soft thing on it’s end!
With two sharp things!
Two big gleaming sharp things!
A LION!
Run for your life!

Run out of the cave!
Crawl through the grass!
Swim across the river!
Run through the gate!
Run around the trees!
Jump over the sticks!
Slosh through the mud!
Run into the house!
Close the door!

 

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