Children can have an overwhelming amount of energy, constantly running, jumping, and exploring the world around them. Sasha lets us in on a few tips on how to put that energy to good use by encouraging physical activity that builds life-long healthy habits and confident problem-solvers.
Each activity has the intent to encourage and improve at least one of the areas of learning and development such as communication and language, personal, social, and emotional skills.
Tips for parents
1- Be a role model and encourage your child to take part in the activities you enjoy doing
2- Find what your child enjoys by experimenting with different sports until they find something they love
3- Make time and prioritise physical activity each day
4- Consistency is key in whatever activities you choose, doing it regularly is important for maintaining positive effects on your mental and physical well-being
5- Don’t be hard on yourself if you don’t feel as though you’ve been as active as normal. Sometimes just a walk around the block can give you and your child a well-needed breath of fresh air.
Games with physical benefits
The NHS recommends that children between the age of 3 and 4 years should be active for at least 3 hours a day. This is because daily activity is crucial to children’s physical development, supporting gross motor skills, muscle health, and bone strength.
So how can we get children to get active once they get home and not reach for a screen?
Sasha has pulled together 6 activities that children at Fennies love the most and can be played at home, and best of all they all support the important elements of development.
Colour, Spot Freeze
Develop balance and coordination whilst having fun!
- Mark spots on the ground using a cone or coloured card
- Allow your child to move around the space by running, jumping, and sidestepping
- When you call ‘freeze!’ your child must run to the coloured spot and perform a balance of their choice for 5 seconds
TIP: You can develop this further by adding numbers to the coloured spots and calling out the number your child has to run to.
Too easy? Add numbers to each spot and call out the number your child must run to and strike a pose!
Egg and Spoon Race
This classic game of balance and coordination will have you laughing all the way to the finishing line!
- Create a starting point and a finish line using cones or similar
- When the race begins, your child must place one arm behind their back whilst holding the egg balanced on the spoon
- If the egg is dropped, you must restart the race
You’ll have an egg-cellent time!
Games with social benefits
Being physically active doesn’t have to look like traditional exercise, it’s important to just get moving! Not only is this good for our bodies, but sports make for great practice for developing social skills that we use every day.
Sponge Ball Relay
Teamwork is in full swing with Sasha’s Sponge Ball Relay with this activity that is great for your child and all their friends! (or you can even join in!)
Make the below make sense for singular or multiple kids
- Ask the children to line up in pairs or teams and place the same number of sponge balls a few meters away
- Each child takes turns to run and collect the balls and bring them back to the starting line
- Once a child has had their turn, they sit down
TIP: Mix it up and try different ways of travelling like skipping, hopping, or jumping to collect the ball
Mastering the art of being a team player not only sets children up for school but is a crucial social skill throughout life.
The pre-school years are an excellent stage to cultivate teambuilding skills, which in time will develop into empathy, strong communication, compromise and patience.
Simon Says can be played just about anywhere and is a great way to keep active come rain or shine
- Call out simple instructions like “Simon says hop on the spot” or “Simon says do 5-star jumps”
- If the instruction doesn’t begin with “Simon Says” it shouldn’t be followed, for example, if you say “spin around and touch the ground” the children must remain still
- If your child follows the instruction they must sit down and stand up as quick as possible
These activities also help the ability to retain and act on instructions help improve children’s language and communication skills, memory, and concentration.
“Children learn to cooperate with people through teamwork activities. This also promotes social awareness as the children learn to listen and respond to each other’s needs.”
Sasha Flynn, PE Coordinator
Games with emotional benefits
Children have to navigate their way through a fast-paced modern world. Recent studies show that children who take part in regular exercise, develop better concentration, problem-solving skills, and creativity.
Sasha incorporates elements of problem solving into activities for the children to encourage them to become more confident and independent with decision making, this in time teaches determination and perseverance.
Take Storytime to the next level with this Fennies favorite
- Using your child’s favorite book that incorporates animals (we love ‘Dear Zoo’ by Rod Campbell) identify the animals on each page
- Recreate the shape of the animal by moving and stretching in different positions
- Hold the pose for as long as possible and tell your child to breathe deeply
Exercise has been shown to improve focus and mood in children. Activities such as yoga and breathing techniques can reduce the symptoms of anxiety.
The Frying Pan
Balance, problem-solving and communication, ‘The Frying Pan’ has it all
- Balance a bean bag or tennis ball on a tennis racket and encourage your child to walk in straight lines without dropping it
- Create obstacles using cones, cushions, blankets or any household objects
- Encourage the children to use different movements to navigate their way around the space and overcome the obstacles
“During the sessions children learn to self-regulate their own emotions in a fun and engaging way. They become able to identify their feelings and figure out how to overcome them. We have had great feedback from our parents and the children love practicing this at home.” Jaimie Cooper-Roberts, Fennies Horley Manager
For more information about Fennies Day Nurseries and to book a virtual tour, please contact Amy Forbes at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 8770 3222.