Full-bodied Play


Right Brain Left Brain Challenge

When kids aren’t working from both sides of their brains, chaos ensues. Ever tried logic with a tantrum throwing tot?!

Our right brains are emotional and impulsive, and they often take over. While the left side of our brains are logical and organized, we still need the right for creative problem solving and for reading nonverbal cues. It’s a peanut butter & jelly situation. One can’t work nearly as well without the other!

But how do we encourage our kiddos to use both sides of their brain for optimum growth? Through play and games of course!

– Lead your little one to color or paint with their non-dominant hand. Or for double the fun, use both hands at once! It may be frustrating at first, but once they get a grasp of it, they’ll love the challenge.

– Move and groove while crossing the midline of the body. This twisting does wonders for brain development. Try marching and hitting each knee with the opposite hand as you go!

– Take a kids yoga class. Breathing boosts brain activity and standing on each limb individually will promote balance!

– Play ball! Run, throw, kick, and catch. Bonus points if you make sure to alternate which arm/leg is doing most of the work!

– Tell a story together! This simple, creative act will build communication skills, empower the imagination, and help you make awesome memories. Who knew playing make believe could do so much good for our brains? (Okay, we did!)

(originally posted on Toddler Blog)

Shape Snoop Snatch!

Learning takes on a new level of excitement when kids see how things can be found off the page and in real life! Just this week, a few rounds of SHAPE SNOOP SNATCH reignited our kiddos’ passion for shape recognition. A clock, a ferris wheel, and the moon all made circles enticing again!

Playing is easy! Snoop around (on tippy toes for extra sneaky snooping!) and start to investigate your little’s room, your house, then your neighborhood for each shape. Have your kiddo whisper “Shape Snoop” when they’ve found one. This is great practice in delayed gratification and using their words before action. Then only after you have snuck up on the shape and “caught” it together, exclaim “Shape Snatch!”

Little kids will need clues, or two distinct choices to pick from, when snooping a particular shape. Bigger kids will embrace the challenge of snooping a whole area by themselves. And the tongue twister of “shape snoop” versus “shape snatch!” will entertain all of you!

(originally posted on Toddler Blog)

Encouraging Indoor Exercise

With temperatures dropping, it gets harder to keep kids moving when stuck inside! But we have some ideas to keep little ones working their gross motor skills indoors, come rain or shine. Read on and play along!

  1. Use painters tape. Make a maze on the floor for kids to trace with their feet. Have them do it on one leg, all fours, and even backwards for an added challenge.
  2. Use pillows. See how tall you can stack them together. Can your little balance on top of two or three or four? Give them a hand to high jump over a stack for heightened fun.
  3. Use cardboard boxes. If you have a few, you’ve created a set of giant blocks to play with. Then line up flattened, skinny ones to use as a balance beam. Use thicker ones to create a ramp, then run and roll down the incline.
  4. Use a ball. Practice throws are best saved for outside. But you can easily roll your way to some indoor fun by making your own bowling game. All you’ll need are some plastic water bottles to knock down. For bonus points, sit down and see if you can pass the ball from one player to the next using just your feet.
  5. Use a jump rope. Wiggle it on the floor like a slithering snake for your young explorers to jump over. Raise it high to limbo low under. Brave players may want to pull it taught for a friendly game of tug of war!

(originally posted on Toddler Blog)

Exploring Our Five Senses

Get ready for an adventure through Our 5 Senses with your own little explorer! It’s a sensory experience that promotes body awareness and belly laughter!

Start by “waking up” each sense. Toddlers love this one!
– Blink your eyes awake to see
– Wiggle your ears awake to hear
– Tap your nose awake to smell
– Stick your tongue out to taste
– Wiggle your fingers ready to touch

SEE: Start a game of Eye Spy. You can spy colors or shapes for bigger kids, or objects for littles to find.
HEAR: Play your favorite tunes with some pauses/freezes thrown in. Maybe a magic motion makes the music sound turn back on!
SMELL: Experiment with kitchen spices for bigger kids, or with aromatherapy spray for littles.
TASTE: Use your citrus fruits. A lemon slice & a clementine slice may look similar, but they certainly taste very different!
TOUCH: Explore what you already have in the house! Tin foil can be bumpy, plastic wrap feels smooth, tape is sticky, and cotton balls are soft.

(originally posted on Toddler Blog)