Mind and body games
From Fit by Five Preschool, Westlake, OH
Knock 'em down, count 'em up
- Set up a bowling alley in your hallway with six empty water bottles and a tennis ball.
- Have your child help you arrange the pins in a triangle, and count them out loud together as you stand them up.
- After he rolls the ball, ask him, "How many pins did you knock down?" Then count together how many pins are still standing.
- Set them back up and let him roll and count over and over.
The hidden lessons: He's honing his hand-eye coordination and learning principles of addition and subtraction.
- Working together, draw happy, sad, mad, surprised, and silly faces on separate pieces of paper.
- Make beanbags by filling up socks with dried beans and tying them tightly (the beans can be a choking hazard).
- Spread the faces on the floor.
- Ask your child things like "How do you feel on your birthday?" or "What does it feel like when your sister takes your toy?"
- Have her toss the beanbags to the face that matches her feelings.
- Let her ask you things.
The hidden lessons: She's learning to put names to feelings, as well as practicing her throwing skills and using her writing hand.
- Form straight, zigzag, bent, or curved lines on the floor using long strips of colored masking tape. Then come up with fun and interesting challenges like: "Walk along the straight line"
- "Walk on your tiptoes on the zigzag line"
- "Now, take three giant steps backward on the curved line"
- See how many crazy combinations you both can come up with.
The hidden lessons: Her body is focused on balance and coordination while her brain is concentrating on following a multifaceted direction - abilities that will take her far, whether she's listening to her teacher, piecing together a Lego set, or doing her first wobbly pli¿¿s at ballet class.