School is going to be a little different this year, and my personal favorite subject has been all but called off. If your child is learning remotely this year, recess might be a distant memory, a thing of the past. But it shouldn’t be. I spoke with my friend Molly, a preschool teacher in New York City about how essential movement and play is to learning.
“As children develop they actually need movement to sort through whatever they are learning,” she said. “Kids learn better through movement, and in school, your kid would be having access to movement through P.E., recess, or even just when walking down the hall.”
“There are plenty of ways to build movement into the school day at home,” she says. “Movement is a great transition - if you think about it, going to school and coming back allows a child to have some sort of change throughout the day — so even little transitions from Zoom classes are important to build into your child’s schedule, as well as structuring times for more active, free-form play.”
Molly began by recommending tape. “It might sound silly,” she said “but there are endless possibilities. With this special tape you can make a hopscotch court, a balancing beam, whatever you can imagine really. It’s a great way to facilitate movement and to keep it structured and safe in the process.”
Molshine Set of 8 Japanese Washi Masking Tape
For bigger solutions, Molly mentioned this in-the-door jungle gym as a potential indoor option to a playground, but she also said a gym ball for sitting on during lessons is another, smaller and less obtrusive way to allow your child to move while learning. She recommends a smaller one like this, that can double as an asset to your own home gym when not in use.
Mini Exercise Ball
Molly also recommended this set of cards (which you could easily make yourself) that helps promote gross motor skill movement. Each card has a different action pose on it, making it a fun game to play with your kid to help get the wiggles out.
Roylco Busy Body Gross Motor Exercise Cards
Similarly, Molly’s final recommendation was to build your own Wiggle Jar. “All you need is a jar, some post-its, and a pencil. Write some movements on the post-its, put them in the jar, and when you need a brain break, pull one out.”
With some ideas to make recess at home a reality, Molly says it’s important to encourage movement throughout the day. Molly noted, “Children retain info better if they are learning through kinesthetic oriented lessons. Whatever you do this year, make movement a part of your child’s routine.”
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