Finding balance while learning at home by playing Balance Shuffle alphabet game for kids!
Balance has a variety of meanings. Especially now during this global pandemic with many of us still under some form of stay-at-home orders. One meaning is to try to keep a balance between helping your early learners with their distance learning and maintaining everyone’s optimal mental health. Another meaning is to maintain a steady position so you do not fall. In early childhood education, this type of balance is the foundation for gross motor development and often is a huge predictor of athletic ability later on.
Balance shuffle is a great game to play to help kids learn to balance and hopefully help restore some balance in your home during this very difficult time.
This lesson takes about 10 minutes and can be done indoor or as a fun outdoor activity for preschoolers. This kinesthetic learning game will allow children to practice and develop their balance while also teaching children how to follow directions and take turns. Please assure there is enough room to safely move and balance during this activity that merges gross motor skills and academic learning.
The only thing this lesson requires is the ABC’s of Movement® activity cards. Not familiar with them? The front of the cards contain a full color photograph of a child demonstrating each letter movement. The back of the cards have instructions for phonological awareness, sky writing, a rhyming sentence, an alliteration sentence, performance instructions, and modifications for children with special needs. See our “What’s on the ABC’s of Movement Activity Cards” post to learn more. Our activity cards are also available to download online as a pdf.
First, you select a few of the alphabet cards. You can select any cards you wish based on your learning objectives. However, the cards H, L, N, T, Z are designed with balance in mind.
Now, on to the game! After you select four or five cards, shuffle the cards and instruct children to take turns picking a card. After the alphabet letter and movement are identified, children perform the activity safely around their area for 30 to 60 seconds. When you call out, “FREEZE!” (or stop the music), all children must freeze and hold their body position for 5 seconds (count from one to five out loud to infuse a bit of math into this early literacy lesson). To further enhance the lesson, you could include the early literacy resources from the backs of the cards or have children try to balance longer than 5 seconds during the FREEZE!
Balance Shuffle is one of the many movement exploration activities featured on OPENPhysed.org. Not only are all the activities aligned to Early Childhood Standards, they are FREE! Originally created for P.E. teachers, this site recently expanded to include Early Childhood (EC) Movement Exploration lessons. With the motto of #teachershelpingteachers, these FREE activity plans and ideas are possible as a public service thru www.USGames.com. Purchases made through US Games help keep OPEN resources fresh and FREE. Other activities from OPENPhysed.org include ABC Obstacle course, Yoga ABC’s, and Follow the Leader.
Watch this video as the group practices balancing, following directions, and turn taking!