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Keep Children Active While At Home

Staying Active at Home_ girl and boy crossing midline on floor

To help children to achieve their 180 minutes of physical activity per day (as recommended by the Department of Health), spread out their active play and gross motor activities across small time increments throughout the day.

In this blog, written by Robyn Papworth, an accredited Exercise Physiologist, Masters qualified Development Educator and mother of three we show you a few ways on how to keep children active while indoors.

Staying Active at Home Girl following numbered path activity

My oldest daughter set out this path (as pictured above) and challenged her brother to join in. The motor skills that both children mastered during this obstacle path included:

    • leg strength;
    • core strength;
    • balance;
    • spatial awareness;
    • fundamental movement skills;
    • coordination, and;
    • fitness.

Other activities that you can do at home to increase children’s physical activity include:

Throwing and catching a ball on the spot

Staying Active at Home girl on obstical course throwing large ball

In these images you can see my daughter throwing and catching with a large ball, while my son was throwing and catching with one hand using a tennis ball.

Staying Active at Home boy on obstical course throwing small ball

Start children with throwing and catching a large ball using two hands. Once they master this skill and become confident with throwing and catching, then progress children to throwing and catching a tennis ball with two hands, to next progressing to throwing and catching a tennis ball with one hand.

 

Walking heel-to-toe along the line

Staying Active at Home. Girl walking heel toe along arrows on floor

Set up a track using these floor markers (as pictured) or use masking tape. Encourage children to firstly walk in a heel-to-toe (tight rope) action along the line. Then, once children become confident with walking heel-to-toe along the line, increase the challenge by:

        • Hopping along the line
        • Jumping with both feet along the line
        • Side stepping along the line
        • Walking along the line while balancing a bean bag on your head (as pictured)

Combining physical and numeracy skills

Staying Active at Home. Girl exploring numeracy activity throwing numbered beanbags on numbered squares

      • In the activity shown above, you can encourage children to throw a numbered bean bag onto the matching numbered floor marker. This activity is great for improving children’s number recognition as well as throwing skills.
      • I extended this activity further for my older Grade 2 children by giving them a bean bag activity called ‘Friends of 10’. For example, children looked at the number that was on their numbered bean bag (e.g. 8), and then they had to throw the bean bag at the number 8’s ‘friend’ to make the number 10, which is the number 2 floor marker.
      • The children enjoyed this numeracy bean bag activity far more than just sitting at the table doing a maths worksheet.

 

Crossing the midline challenge

  • An important motor skill that we all need is called ‘crossing the midline’. Crossing the midline skills give our body the ability to coordinate one side of our body while being positioned on the opposite side of the body. For example, we use crossing the midline skills to write our name with our right hand on the left-hand side of a piece of paper. We also use crossing the midline skills when we hit a ball with our left hand on the right-hand side of our body, or when we pull our jumper on and off, using our right hand to help our left arm get out of our jumper.

Staying Active at Home_girl and boy crossing midline

  • These two crossing the midline exercises  help children to practise moving one side of the body to the opposite side of the body by tapping their right foot onto the coloured square floor marker on the left-hand side of their body, then tapping their left foot onto the coloured square floor marker on the right-hand side of their body.

Staying Active at Home_ girl and boy crossing midline on floor

  • We increase the challenge for children by having them cross the midline with their hands, while holding a ‘plank position’ as pictured above. During this activity children need to use their core strength to keep their torso straight. Their knees are under their hips and their hands are under their shoulders so that they have a straight back (like a table).
  • Ask children to tap their right hand onto the marker that is on the left-hand side of their body, then tap their left hand onto the marker that is on the right-hand side of their body.
  • The children will be strengthening their crossing the midline skills, as well as their shoulder stabilisation, wrist extension and hip stabilisation skills. All of these skills are important for developing their gross motor skills, as well as their fine motor skills.

 

Hopscotch

Boy playing numbered hopscotch on carpet

      • Every child loves hopscotch. Even us big kids love hopscotch!
      • Encourage the children to set out the numbered floor markers into the hopscotch configuration.
      • Have children complete the hopscotch path as normal. Or add a bean bag throwing element into this activity by having children throw a bean bag onto a number, then skip that number as they jump and hop past.
      • You can also place the numbered floor markers further apart to increase the jumping and hopping challenge for older children.
      • If you don’t have the numbered floor markers, simply draw the hopscotch configuration on concrete with chalk.

 

How do you keep kids active at home, we’d love to hear from you?

 

Featured products:

Shapes & Numbers Toss Mat & Bean Bag Kit

Floor Markers Set

 

About the Author
Robyn Papworth is an accredited Exercise Physiologist, Masters qualified Development Educator, mother of three children, and a passionate advocate for children who have learning difficulties and developmental delay. When you follow Robyn on her social media challenges, you will quickly be introduced to her son Hugh who was born with developmental delay and has been Robyn’s motivator for establishing her business Play Move Improve.
With more than 10 years of experience as an Exercise Physiologist, Robyn designs and implements play strategies and motor skills programs that help children achieve developmental milestones, such as rolling, crawling, manipulating objects, walking, skipping and balancing.
Through valuable play strategies and movement routines, Robyn uses her expertise and creativity to ensure children work towards mastering the crucial skills that lay the foundation for participation in both school and life, such as handwriting, doing up buttons, participating in physical activity and other fine motor skills.

 

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Screen-free STEAM Games

Cyber Attack game extreme close up

The skills of problem solving, critical thinking and creativity can be taught through STEAM learning experiences using robots, apps and technological gadgets, but how can we continue to provide children with opportunities to develop these STEAM skills without needing to use these technologies?

In this blog, we explore five games that support STEAM learning that can be conducted at home or school that do not involve technology or screen time.

 

ThinkFun – Code Programming Game Series

Age: 8+
Players: Single or collaborative game play
40+ challenges per game

The Code Programming Game Series contains three games that were created by Mark Engleberg, a teacher and former programmer for NASA. These games are designed to build the skills needed to learn key coding concepts. They allow students to work through over 40 challenges from beginner to expert level. Each of these games develops students’ understanding of problem solving and computational thinking. All three games in this collection are screen-free, unplugged coding experiences.

Featured Products:

ThinkFun – Code Programming Game Series

 

On the Brink

On the Brink Coding Game challenge booklet and box spead out on table

On the Brink teaches procedures and problem solving skills through its single or multi-player game. The aim of the game is to use your problem solving skills to program the robot to move along the different game boards using the coloured control panel and movement cards. Each panel on the control panel has space for two movement cards which you need to program to move the robot from start to finish.

On the Brink Coding Game. Movement Cards spread out on table

The game includes:

    • Challenge booklet
    • Instructions booklet
    • Movement cards (grey = beginner, yellow = advanced)
    • Control panel
    • Robot character

 

Featured Product:

On the Brink

ThinkFun – Code Programming Game Series

 

 

Rover Control

Rover Control game spread and box on table

Rover Control teaches control structures and problem solving skills through its single or multiplayer game. The aim of the game is to move the rover from start to finish. The rover can only be programmed to travel on the coloured paths. The game board has been wiped off the coloured paths, and players must use the clues to redesign the path and program the robot character to move it from start to finish for each mission.

Rover Control Game on desk

The game includes:

    • Challenge booklet
    • Instructions booklet
    • Solution booklet
    • Game boards – Terrain cards x 4 (beginner, intermediate, advanced and expert)
    • Whiteboard markers with erasers (red, green, blue)
    • 2 x rovers (yellow, purple)
    • Tokens that include (charging station, data upload, and rover start and end discs)

 

Featured Product:

 Rover Control

ThinkFun – Code Programming Game Series

 

 

Robot Repair

Robot Repair Game on on table

Robot Repair teaches logic principles which are a key part of programming. The aim of the game is to fix the four broken robots by connecting colours and wires on each of the game cards through the clues given on each mission challenge.

This game includes:

    • Challenge booklet
    • Instruction manual
    • Solutions booklet
    • Game boards
    • Tokens (power cells, on/off and true/false)

Featured Product: 

Robot Repair Game

ThinkFun – Code Programming Game Series

 


Pixel Plezier

Pixel Plezier game box on table

Age: 5+
Players: Single or pairs

Pixel Plezier is a puzzle game that helps students develop their understanding of binary code by creating pixel characters. Binary code represents text, computer processor instructions and any other data using a two-symbol number system consisting of ‘0’ and ‘1’ from the binary number system.

 

Pixel Plezier game complete set on table

Within the kit there are 8 puzzles to create and solve. This is a great activity to have students complete on their own or working collaboratively in pairs. Each kit contains 8 puzzles and 4 coding mats (2 boards 7×7 and 2 boards 6×6).

Extension
Using this template, students can extend this game by creating their own Pixel binary code for others to solve.

Download: Pixel Plezier Template

Featured Product: 

Pixel Plezier

 

Cyber Attack Board Game

Cyber Attack game box and board on table

Age: 6+
Players: 2-4

The Cyber Attack Board Game supports students in developing their understanding of cyber safety and how to act and behave online. It follows the format of traditional board games with question cards related to digital problems that students may encounter online. If students get the answer correct they can either proceed forwards two places in the game or can move an opponent back two places. If they get an answer incorrect they move two places back.

Cyber Attack game close up

Extension
This game can be extended by having students create their own question cards. This personalises the game, particularly if you have certain rules at school or home related to using a device and how to act and behave online.

Featured Product:

Cyber Attack Game

 

About the author

Eleni Kyritsis is an award winning Year 3 teacher and Leader of Curriculum and innovation from Melbourne, Australia. Eleni facilitates professional learning workshops around the world that focus on unleashing creativity and curiosity in classrooms. You can contact her at elenikyritis.com and @misskyritsis

 

 Featured Products: 

ThinkFun – Code Programming Game Series

On the Brink

Rover Control

Robot Repair Game

Pixel Plezier

Cyber Attack Game

 

 

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