Moving on Mondays is a great way to begin the week for children and us as adults too. It helps regulate our mood and motivation. Children learn about the benefits of moving and mood from us as invested people in your child’s world as we are their first and most important teachers.
According to Raising Children Network children aged 1-5 years should be physically active for at least 3 hours per day. Babies who are not moving yet should have approximately 30 minutes of tummy time per day, this can be spread out into small intervals over the day and helps develop their head, neck, core and back strength for crawling and later on walking. Children 5 years to adolescent should be active for one hour per day.
Movement is a powerful way to move one’s mood and motivate oneself. Moving your body to music engages rhythm and coordination which are wonderfully beneficial for the brain. It engages your ability to plan and to listen as you move around in the space to the music. Dance Movement Therapy particularly targets dance movement as way to move through to a place of healing, and many early childhood songs use movement and actions as well as singing.
Imagine the benefits for children?
Using instruments and moving or scarves and streamers while gently swaying to the rhythms as they flow around the room, significantly engages children in the magic of musical movement.
Using boxes to help children explore where they are in space and how big they are helps them learn about their body height, weight and how it feels. Imaginative play like this Dad pretending it’s a car or playing Jack in the Box is a great song to sing at this time and explore the delicious delight of popping up and seeing the joy on your face.
Focus in on rhythm using an upside down bucket as a drum and use your hands to tap out the rhythm.
Bop & Stop from Let’s Sing and Grow is a wonderful song from that helps children listen to the word stop. It is one of the favourites for children, parents and early childhood educators that I have worked with. There are many other favourites they have that I would encourage for movement and music.
Throwing a soft ball between you and a child is a way to move and support the development of their muscles, agility and hand/eye coordination. A wonderful indoor activity for a cold or rainy day with some rhythmic music to throw the ball with the beat and add some counting in to build the rhythm awareness and number names! Or on a beautiful sunny day take them outside in the yard or to the park for an ever deeper exploration of throwing and catching or perhaps even kicking a ball.
Playdough is one of the best experiences for learning in the world (in my opinion). It encourages and facilitates children to work through any emotions, create, design, problem solve, measure, notice and talk about what they are doing and others. Covering many of the learning areas for children’s development. Join our mailing list to get our recipe for home made playdough plus our P.L.A.Y. ing with Purpose E-Book with lots of tips and suggestions for playing, connection and learning.
I often recommend and place the play dough visual card in before homework or before a bedtime story to enhance children’s ability to do a tricky demanding task like homework or in order to settle their body and brain for sleep. Our afternoon routine supports children to attend to tasks that need to be done as well as time for play and rest.
So movement is key to many aspects of our children’s and our wellbeing. Try some gentle movement today and make your Monday move.