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Just Play It

By Taya Beattie, Early Elementary Teacher

Physical play is an important tool to utilize for our children’s development. Not only does it spur cognitive growth, it also builds agility, fitness and proprioceptive ability. And the best part? If you join in with your kids you can get the benefits as well! (Check out the blog post on quality movement/proprioception).

So without further ado, here are a few ideas for how you can promote unstructured play with and development with your kids in a safe and positive environment.

General Guidelines:

If it’s fun and safe, try to not to worry about sticking to the rules of the game. In fact, it’s often more growth-oriented to start one of these games and see what it evolves into.

Physical Play Ideas:

Obstacle course

  • Grab all the cushions from your couch and scatter them around the house then set some guidelines, such as “the floor is lava” etc.

Best Dance Crew/Dance Party

  • Put on some music and switch off making up dance moves (four counts each) until you have a 10 second dance. Rinse and repeat.
  • For even less structure, put on some music and just dance.

Deck of Cards

  • Grab a deck of cards or dice and make a corresponding list of animals or actions, zany or mundane. Draw cards to make an animal workout. You might be surprised at how good this one gets.
  • move like a lizard, like a lion, stir the cake batter, do the polka etc.

Arbitrary Rules

  • Your chance to set arbitrary rules and have your kids follow them of their own accord.
  • move through the house like a ____ (ghost, pop star, acrobat).
  • Follow me in a Conga line, etc.

It’s a trap!

  • Make a string contraption between two soft objects and try to move through it like you’re in the matrix

Low Bridge

  • Set up a limbo with a broom and two chairs and practice moving under it all the different ways you can think of.

Painter’s Tape

  • Grab a roll of painter’s tape and mark out different areas on the floor for different movements. Great to combine with the obstacle course option.