Gathering Educational Resources
We don’t yet know what next school year will bring. However, it never hurts to gather resources that can be used if we need to maintain social distancing. Today I am going to share some of the activities available for FREE at OPENPhysed. As a school based physical therapist, I use these lesson plans all the time because I can modify them into a great therapeutic tool for my students with special needs and they are standards based. If you missed the post about OPENPhysed or if you need to refresh your memory, please see THIS blog post for an introduction to OPENPhysed.
Who Would Benefit From These Activities?
These six developmentally appropriate movement games/activities are designed for preschool age children. However, they are great to use with kindergarten age children and children with special needs, too. Each activity should take approximately 10 minutes and can be played indoors or outside. We use 24” hoops from US Games as they are the perfect size for young children to successfully manage. Ideally you should try to schedule 6 activity breaks throughout the day to provide the recommended 60 minutes of daily physical activity.
1. Hoop Race
This activity allows students to practice various locomotor movements and tasks. While students are sitting inside their hoops they count from 1 to 10 together as a class. On your signal, they stand up and start walking safely around their hoops while counting each lap that they complete. After completing 10 laps, they sit inside their hoop and wait for the whole class to finish. The students can then switch directions and repeat, follow a locomotor task that you perform, or even try different movements to cross over the hoop. If you have a area large enough, social distancing is easy during hoop race.
2. Balancing Body Parts
This activity is a fun way to learn body parts and colors! As you call out a body part, students place that body parts inside their hoop (foot, hand, head, elbow). Next, we add color to the body parts called. If we are not required to social distance, students place their appropriate body part inside a hoop of that color, sharing the hoops with others. To maintain social distancing, call out a color and only those students with that colored hoop, place their appropriate body part inside a hoop.
3. Bodies of Water
This activity teaches students about water safety. With the hoops represent water, students learn about the importance of being safe around a variety of bodies of water as they move around their hoops. In addition, students are encouraged to discuss different types of plants and animals that live in or near the various bodies of water. When comparing and contrasting these concepts, students are learning about scientific inquiry while demonstrating knowledge of personal safety practices (being safe around water).
4. Colored Igloos
This activity allows children to imagine they are Eskimos, their hoops are igloos, and the floor is ICE! If we are not required to social distance, you call a color and the students move into an igloo of that color. Repeat with different colors and movements. Click here to watch the video of colored igloos. If we are social distancing, once you call out a color, only students in those colored igloos ice skate around their hoops. Repeat until all students have had a turn.
5. Move Crazy
This activity is a twist on Simon Says with hoops. You call out low, medium, and high levels and students hold their hoops at each level. Social distance is maintained as you then call out mixed movement concepts such as wide/low or narrow/high and the students follow the movements in the hoops.
6. 1, 2, 3 Lift Off
This is similar to Move Crazy with students demonstrating wide, narrow, tall, & small body positions within their hoops while maintaining social distancing . The activity focuses on holding the hoops overhead with feet in a wide position. The students count as a class and quickly drop their hoops and make a narrow position when a certain number is reached. Start off counting 1-10 and progress to counting backwards, or for older students they can count by 10’s or 5’s or 2’s. Click here to watch the video of 1,2,3 Lift Off.
Want to add another sensory layer to this early literacy activity? How about adding music! Music and movement instruction has been shown to improve memory, cognitive development, learning skills, and cooperative group learning. The ABC’s of Movement Music Album takes your lesson to the next level of fun!