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March 17, 2012

Let’s Move!

It is necessary for children to engage in 60 minutes of physical activity a day to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Studies have shown that lifestyles learned as children are much more likely to stay with a person into adulthood. So, as an educator, challenge yourself to build a foundation for a life-long love of healthy habits! Provide the children in your classroom (and yourself!) with multiple opportunities to move around, stretch and exercise in fun and exciting ways!

Core Exercises

  • Snake Curls – Have the children lie on the ground with their knees bent, feet flat on the ground, and a beanbag between the knees to keep them together. Hands are resting on thighs. Sing “Snake Charmer” music or play a recorder and have the children curl their upper body up in response to the music.
  • Tightrope Walker – Place a string on the floor with objects on the floor, spread out every couple of feet (plastic bottles, toys, etc.) Place a beanbag on the child’s head. Have them walk along the ‘tightrope’. When they come to an object, have them bend down to touch it – without dropping the beanbag!
  • Chair Exercises – Have the children hold onto the bag of a chair with another child sitting in it. The child that is standing up with lift one knee up, while the other child counts to ten. Switch when the child has done a set on each leg.
  • Pass the Balloon- Have the children hold a balloon in two hands and lay on the floor with the balloon above their head. They will then lift up their upper body and legs to pass the balloon from their hands to between their legs. A variation of this is to just lift their legs and slowly lower them.

Shoulder Exercises

  • Tummy Crawl – This is a great obstacle course or follow-the-leader activity. Ask your child to lie on his tummy and then to move forward using his elbows to pull himself along.
  • The Big Push – Tell the children that a wall is falling down, and they must help you keep it up by pushing! Make sure they children have only their hands on the wall (no shoulders), and try and keep elbows slightly bent.
  • Crab Walk – Have the children sit on the ground and bend their knees with their feet on the ground. Place their hands on the floor and push their tush up. Encourage them to walk this way for 10 seconds, 20 seconds, etc. You can also have them race across the play area with a bean bag on their tummy.
  • Chair Push-Ups – Put your hands on either side of your chair and PUSH until your bottom rises off the chair. Count to five. Ask your child to try it. If they are not struggling, ask the children to lift their feet off the floor while raising his bottom, and hold for 5 counts.

 Hand-Eye Coordination

  • Ball Rolling Exercise – Have the children sit with legs apart across from a partner. One child will roll a beach ball to their partners. The child must stop the ball before it hits their tummy. 
  • Object Relay – The children will stand in a line and pass the ball to the child behind them. Pass it overhead, then between the legs. Encourage the children to use both hands together, and make it more fun by having a bucket of objects at the front that have to be transferred to an empty bucket at the back.
  • Up and Catch – Have the children stand in a hula hoop. They will throw a ball or a beanbag up in the air and catch it – but they cannot leave the hula hoop.