Moving and Shaking
Body Blast Break
What to do: Children are not meant to be still for long periods. Energy needs to be released to optimize growth and learning. To keep a toddler’s mental health balanced with their physical body, toddlers should ‘reset’ to allow them to channel their focuses where needed.
When you notice your toddler is becoming fidgeting/frustrated/unfocused/emotional – take a 5-minute Body Blast Breaks from whatever you are doing to help a child begin to self regulate, concentrate, and understand their bodily cues.
1. To expel lots of energy have them run, climb, jump, stomp, roll and do big energy movements
2. Get them to shake their sillies out, but with specific direction and attention to detail. Have them begin with wiggling their toes, ankles, knees, hips, all the way up to the tip of their heads.
3. Move-in slow motion. Do big movements, point out how their body is stretching, and ask them how their body feels
4. Dance – Music lightens the mood and feeds the soul
5. SCREEEEEEEAM! Scream at the top of your lungs! Screaming is a primal strategy to release anger and stress. Set boundaries to keep this as a controlled activity, like screaming into a pillow or only during Body Blast Breaks.
Skill to Practice: Energy Release, Self Regulation, Expressing Emotions, Sense of Self
Extended Learning: Incorporate Emotional Learning to this activity. Give scenarios when some of these activities accompany a mood, “Sometimes when I’m sad I walk in slow motion like this,” or “Stomping is something I do when I’m angry to get out those big feelings. Let’s try.”
What is Needed: Yoga Mat, soft music
Reference Poses: Elephant, crocodile, bear, tiger, hippo
Having a short daily yoga routine built into your schedule can do wonders for your child’s ability to ground themselves, use strategies to improve mental health and carry these abilities with them throughout their lifetime.
1. Set the scene – Use yoga mats if you have them, play soft jungle music in the background
2. Pretend you are in the wild and you are these animals
3. Practice getting into their poses and holding for a short moment.
4. Have fun with each animal. Make sounds, move like the animal, but then return to the pose, be silly!
5. End each session with an affirmation such as, “I leave this space leading with love and kindness.”
Skill to Practice: Sensory Motor Integration, Balance, Imaginative Play
Extended Learning: Introduce Mindful Movement Meditation during the last minute of your daily yoga session.
Language & Literacy
Magical Sidewalk Chalk
What is Needed: Sidewalk Chalk, an Imagination
Create an out of the box hopscotch course on the sidewalk for your little one. Not only is it a great way to expel energy, but to learn to follow direction and practice coordination skills
Have spaces where they can hop, skip, twirl, follow a zig-zagged line, touch their toes, jump onto a certain shape, jump over a line, the possibilities are endless!
Skills to Practice: Coordination skills, Direction following
Extended Learning: Get a pool noodle and have them practice “wire walking” on different shaped lines of chalk (straight, zig-zag, twirled, etc.)
Family Dance Party
What to do: All you need is some Music and some Dancing Feet
Laughing, moving, and playing with your toddler is one of the best experiences you can give to them. Show them your fun side but shaking and grooving. Share some oldies you loved when you were a child.
For added fun, dress up, string lights, or use streamers or instruments!
Skills to Practice: Emotional Release, Family Connection
Extended Learning: Copy a Toddler Recital – Video Auditions
Take a video of you and your toddler dancing together. The catch!? Let your toddler take the lead. Follow their movements and leads and see how in sync you can really become! You can cherish those memories for years to come!
Paint to the Beat
What is Needed: 4 pieces of paper. Paints, paintbrushes
Music significantly influences one’s sensorial perception, mood, and ability to make connections.
1. Choose two songs with completely different tempos
2. Set up paint and give yourself and your toddler a piece of paper and brush
3. Play one song and suggest pretending the brush is a person dancing on a stage. Have them paint to the tempo, beat or rhythm.
4. Do it again with a song with a completely different sound.
5. Have a conversation about what they are hearing, feeling, and doing.
Skills to Practice: Creative Learning, fine Motor Control, Imagination
Extended Learning: Tape a few pieces of paper together and paint your toddler’s feet! Have them dance across the paper for a musical mural!