Running, jumping, throwing, climbing, and running – and all kinds of active play – are very important for young children’s development. Young children are not only strengthening their muscles and improving their coordination when they engage in physical play; every game and physical activity is a chance to learn concepts and to practice getting along with others. To incorporate these skills into our curriculum, we looked at it’s connection to music.
Music involves both the large and small muscles of the body. Music also includes a cognitive component that is significant to your child’s growing critical thinking skills. Incorporating and facilitating musical development through planned opportunities for play enables your little one to integrate these gross motor skills with their budding sense of melodic awareness (the cognitive component).
For this activity, one child would play one of three notes (C, D or E), while a second child would listen. Once they heard that tone, they discriminated between the three different notes. After their selection was chosen, they tossed a bean bag onto a musical staff with pre-drawn notes in red, orange, and yellow.
As a result of this activity, students were able to collaborate and work on positive social skills. Through listening, they were able to access their ability to process linguistic cues and body language, as they experienced the benefits of working together toward a common goal.
Gross motor activities are an essential component to any preschool curriculum. These activities build skills that aid the development of young children, and prepare them for elementary school. Because your little ones are active and often on-the-go, it is important that they learn how to control their bodies.
Comfort with gross motor skills means that your child is aware of his personal space. By controlling his body, he can respect other people’s personal spaces as well. For this activity, we learned that being an astronaut creates intense physical demands on the body.
Because of this, potential astronauts undergo rigorous training to prepare them for the challenges of space travel. Using yellow rope and our bodies, we participated in an astronaut obstacle course! This enabled your child to practice accessing both sides of the body simultaneously to get through the rope maze.
The sculpin is a fish that dwells in the tide pools. To initiate this activity, we created our own versions of a sculpin with styrofoam and papier-mâché. We then used fishing poles, plastic fish as our sculpin, and paint to make a creature! This activity required much concentration as your little one considered weight, aim, and the direction of their fish as a means to create their masterpiece. Though this experience may seem more recreational than educational, activities such as these build hand eye coordination, an integral factor in eye tracking, and eventually, reading.