Physical Development

Keeping Pre-schools Kids active in Winter: Expressive and physical play through ring games and action songs

At this time of year the days are shorter and recently we’ve had more than our fair share of very wet days too. There is only so much outdoor play that your grandchildren can do at this time of year; they still have the same amount of energy but they’re spending more time indoors. This is a good time to think about some indoor activities that encourage physical play and expressive development.

What counts as physical play and expressive development? I recently watched Daisy at her Playgroup Christmas Party when the children all joined hands to start to do the Hokey Cokey together; she was so excited and keen to join in with this chance to be physical and expressive.

There’s lots of incidental learning in a fun party round of Hokey Cokey (Hokey Pokey in some parts of the world) : following directions and copying actions as well as becoming aware of left and right. Of course the more opportunities you have to do the Hokey Cokey, the better you can become at it! Over the festive days, you may have a group of visitors who would also enjoy doing the Hokey Cokey with your grandchildren, it’s good for us all!

Daisy is also very keen on Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes. This is another action song that promotes physical coordination. Before we introduced Daisy to this song we made sure that she could point to her facial features and had regularly shown her how to touch top of her head and her shoulders and to reach her knees and her toes. As it requires co-ordination and balance from your pre-school child I recommend starting by singing the lyrics slowly; if the song is sung too quickly to begin with it can challenge them.  Once they have mastered the actions then you can start to speed up the singing and move on, missing out the words while completing the actions.

I hope that I’m inspiring you, bringing back some memories of the ring games and action songs that you used with your children.

Other games:

Going on a Bear Hunt (all together as a family) – start by reminding your grandchild about the actions for each obstacle on the hunt.

The Walking song – we walk and we walk and we walk (with actions).

Here we go ’round the Mulberry Bush.

Duck, Duck, Goose (also adaptable to different animals and different ways of moving).

The Farmer’s in his Den.

Ring a Ring o’ Roses.

If you’re unsure of the lyrics and actions there are plenty of websites online for these action songs.  They all give our grandchildren opportunities to be physical and expressive and also encourage families to ‘play’ together!

Granny Smith Says

These ring games and action songs give our grandchildren opportunities to be expressive, but do make sure that every child has a chance to participate and have a turn so that no child is left out.

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