It is raining, your kids are bouncing off the walls and you are running out of ideas. In this series, we will bring you some fabulous, kid approved, creative movement activities for your toddler, preschooler & even school-age child. These activities don't necessarily have to be done inside, but would make a rainy day so much more fun! We promise that after introducing your child to these activities, they'll be begging for more.

FREEZE DANCE

This activity will have your child dancing, giggling & getting his or her creative juices flowing. The object of this game is for your child to practice concentrating.

Instructions:

You will play a song with a great beat and your child will dance all around the room. When you pause the music, your child must "freeze"! For younger children and toddlers you may have to use reminders such as "keep your body still," and "don't move your arms or legs" when the music stops.

Variations:

-For younger children including toddlers and preschoolers, try playing this game using many different genres of music including some hip hop, classical & rock music. Watch as your child learns to feel how to move differently to each song you play for them. Ask your child questions about the music and how it makes them feel. Should they move fast or slow? Does the song make them feel happy or sad, excited or bored?
-This is an activity that can also be played with infants. Watch your baby react when the music stops. Many times, a baby will make a sound when the music stops. Dance around while holding your baby and when you pause the music, don't move and don't talk. Your child will respond in a number of ways and will start to notice the pattern you are making.
-For older children, you can play with groups of friends and have them be "out" if they move when the music stops. If you think this may upset your child, let them know that when the next child gets out, they get to go back in. This way there is no winner and everyone takes turns.


BODY LETTERS

This is a really fun activity when children are learning how to write or read. We also like this activity for older children when challenged to use the activity for spelling.

Instructions:

Show your child a letter from the alphabet and have them shape their body into that letter. An example would be for the letter, "T", your child could stand with their feet together and their arms out to the sides (like an airplane). Encourage your child to get creative with challenges such as having them use only their hands to shape the letters or seeing if they can create a letter while lying down or only by standing.

Variations:

-If you have more than one child playing, the children can connect their bodies to make the letter shapes. This is a great activity to teach teamwork and working together!


DON'T FALL IN!

This game is based off of the childhood favorite..."Avoid the hot lava!" In this version, your child will have to opportunity to get some great exercise while learning their colors. We like this activity because it challenges children to think before moving. For preschoolers and toddlers, that is not an easy task to ask of them. Be patient and encouraging.

Movement Dance Collage

Instructions:

Place colored pieces of paper on the floor in random order. You can decide how many colors to use based on your own individual child. As they become more comfortable, you can add more colors. We like to play this game using 4 different colors (4 red, 4 blue, 4 green & 4 yellow). Assign your child a color and have them jump from one side of the room to the other by only jumping on the color given. Example: "Jump on all the red pieces of paper." You can make it even more fun by pretending that the other colors are hot lava or a rushing river that you don't want them to fall into. Feel for your child's comfort level and if that makes them nervous, it is still just as much fun for them to concentrate and jump on the given color.

Variations:

-Try playing this game by using chalk and drawing shapes on the ground. Then have your child jump on the given shapes. You could make it even more challenging by using both colors and shapes!

-Instead of placing the paper out neatly in a 4x4 square, spread them out randomly in the room for more of a challenge.

-Have your child practice different kinds of jumps or methods of moving while playing. They could jump with their toes having to stay together, leaping, jumping like a frog or trying to take giant steps. Have a blast and get creative! Ask your child if they have any ideas of how they could get across.

These activities are sure to get your child moving and learning. Enjoy your time playing together and we'll be back soon for another post in our "Movin' & Groovin'" series!


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