How to Get the Wiggles Out– Inside
On rainy, cold, miserable days, children still need to exercise. Their developing muscles and growing bones demand near-constant use, especially as toddlers. Your kids aren’t just being squirmy and wild, their bodies need to move!
You don’t want them climbing the walls, diving off the bannisters, or racing through your hallways that all seem to have sharp cornered tables at forehead height. For your own sanity, and their safety, some structure will be needed.
We deal with this at school, almost weekly, more in the winter. We’ve included a variation on musical chairs that’s better suited for being at home with fewer than four children. Also, our favorite games to play in class are Alphabet Actions, Animal Actions, and of course, there’s always dancing.
A simple and educational way to get them moving is an adaptation of musical chairs. You will need:
-Paper— either colored construction paper or with shapes or letters drawn on as large as possible
Start the music. Let them run around the chairs. When the music stops, call out a color/shape/letter to find.
Please keep in mind that we know our colors fairly well, that we are still learning shapes, and only a few of the kids can identify “their” letter at this age.
If you have a mix of ages at home, provide a mixture of difficulties. Have your toddlers hunt for colors, and your kindergarteners hunt for letters, even at the same time.
Remember, this isn’t math and reading time. It’s just a fun way to get some exercise.
Alphabet Actions (included in the link) have a letter, and an action that begins with that letter. They’re paced nicely so you and your little ones can stretch, calm down, breathe and keep focused on the game, before things get out of control. Here’s how we handle each letter.
Gather the children and have them sit criss-cross. This helps them understand their attention is required.
A- applause: clap and cheer
B- bounce: stand and bounce, just bending knees, up and down for about 10 seconds
C- crawl: from one side of the room to the other
D- dance: make up your own tune, hum a favorite, be silly and shake it for another 10 seconds
E- explode: crouch into a ball and jump out of it, arms extended as high as you can, 3 times
F- fly: arms out, and quickly walk around the room in a circle
G- gallop: like a horse, from one side of the room to the other
H- hop: if playing with older children, this is a great time to practice balancing. For two’s though, these hops should be crouched like a frog’s
I- itch: pretend your whole body is itchy and you have to scratch all over
J- jump: jump as high as you can 3 times
K- kick: spread out to a safe distance and show off your best ninja-moves
L- lunge: take massive steps, as big as you can, back and forth across the room
M- mash: bend down and mash the floor with your hands for a few seconds, start to catch your breath
N- nod: nod your head, stretch your neck muscles, and begin to calm down
O- open: arms wide, stretch your arms and shoulders
P- peddle: lie on your back, feet in the air, knees bent, and peddle your feet
Q- quiet: sit calmly for 5 seconds
R- run: have the children line up against one wall, announce the card and let them race across the room, multiple times if you think they need it, but no more than three or it will get out of hand
S- spin: spread out, spread your arms, and spin around several times
T- tip-toe: walk on tip-toes, pretending to be very quiet and sneaky, across the room
U- unroll: touch your toes, unroll your spine up and reach, drop down and repeat
V- view: stand as tall as you can, as if stretching out, to look at something up high or far away
W-walk: walk calmly back and forth
X- exhale: sit criss-cross on the floor and take deep breaths
Y- yoga: sit on your knees, bend forward and stretch your arms out as far as they will go
Z- zoom: just let them go crazy
There are other versions of this game available through Pinterest and elsewhere online. However, this version was made by Ms. Ashley herself and is completely free.
Animal actions can be done in a similarly organized fashion. You can find print-outs through the Pinterest links below, professionally made sets on Amazon, or turn making up your own into an artistic activity. You could also let the children pick an animal, and move around the room mimicking it for several seconds. This will require some on-the-spot creative thinking on your part, and can be tricky outside of a classroom, but absolutely give it a shot if you feel up to it. A fun variant could be a category of animals (bugs. zoo, water, or farm animals).
Dancing is a fun activity, but it’s very easy for your toddler to lose interest after a song or two. In the classroom, we often have the children sit down. One picks a song and we dance to it. They sit down again, and another child picks a song, until everyone has had a turn. To do this at home, get the whole family involved! Tip: If your little one is struggling to pick, give them two options, ie “Elsa” or “Hot Dog?”
Shape/Color Hop– use the pages from your musical chairs game to hop around on the floor
Spider Web– use tape to create a spiderweb on the floor and let the children balance on the lines, or step/hop between them. When it’s time to clean-up, let the kids do it. They will have sensory fun with the sticky tape, it encourages helping, and is a fine-motor challenge for them. (Tape can be used like this for more than just spider webs, be creative!)
Obstacle Courses– set one up using chairs, tables, cushions, etc. get your older kids involved. Once you have a course, see who can master it the fastest.
Have fun. Stay healthy.
Ms. Ashley and Ms. Bri
https://1drv.ms/b/s!Au1qGVIN31C0gYpXMCXzrKGqUe9Sfg – Alphabet Actions