Spring equals time for young children to get out there and play! Happy, healthful outdoor play is important for building muscular readiness… and that’s needed for all sorts of gross and fine motor skills used in academics.
Here are six easy suggestions for children to shake off those winter doldrums and get back to their “business” of play:
Review rules before starting a game. For example, the “goal” is scored when the soccer ball is kicked between the two rocks in the yard.
Have a quiet game follow an active one. Play “I Spy” after a rigorous game of tag.
Sharpen eye-hand coordination. Toss a tennis ball for him to catch. Start about 3 feet apart. Then, as he gets good at catching, increase the distance by one or two feet at a time.
Couple rhyming with coordination. Help her say poems while jumping rope…or make up rhymes as she jumps.
Play hopscotch for balance and number recognition. For younger children go with the classic 1-8 hopscotch grid. For first or second graders put simple addition or subtraction in each box that must be solved before jumping.
Play to strengthen social/emotional skills. Hide and seek is a great game for three or more children. Interacting with other children, problem-solving (Where did they go?) and the satisfaction of “finding” can help build confidence and friendships.
Take advantage of the nice weather and let your children be children and play their time away!
Connie McCarthy is passionate about her work as a teacher of young children. She has devoted her entire career to making sure that her students do well at school, right from the start. Connie has an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education, and a Master’s Degree in Special Education. She has been teaching first grade in East Providence, R.I. for 23 years, where she received the distinction of “Highly Qualified Teacher” by the Rhode Island State Board of Regents. Connie also taught nursery school for four years, and published numerous articles on early education in East Bay Newspapers in Bristol, R.I. She’s also been published in PTO Today Magazine. She lives with her husband, Brian, and has a daughter and a son, both young adults. Connie enjoys reading, writing about elementary education, and taking long walks with friends. During summer vacations, she likes to travel with her husband. She also loves reading readers’ comments on her weekly blog posts.