Exercise, Valentine's Day, Rhyming, and Table Painting

The class has jumped into a new study - Exercise! With a trampoline and a child size weight bench in class, the children have been very eager to exercise. The study covers healthy eating, bones/muscles/tissues, what happens to the body when exercising, equipment, different styles of exercising, and healthy life habits. To illustrate what happens to your breathing when your heart rate increases, the class played Huff and Puff. Each student had to “push” a cotton ball across the rug by blowing on it, without using their hands. Seems simple, right? Well, if you don’t get behind the cotton ball just right, it can stay in one place or move in a direction you don’t want. The children had to be very patient while focusing on their breathing and watching which way the cotton ball was moving. After the game we discussed what happened as they were crawling on the floor. The children noticed that their breathing was labored and their heart was pumping faster. This helped them to see how breathing and heart rate are related and that exercising gets oxygen and blood around your body in a quick way.

I couldn’t let Valentine’s Day slip by without pulling out my number/letter game. The students took turns tossing bean bags onto the poster and telling the class what numbers/letters their bean bags hit. This was an easy way to review number/letter recognition. It also reinforced taking turns, being a good audience member, and encouraging friends.

The children reviewed rhyming words while playing a rhyming activity last week. This activity made the students stretch their brains and grow outside of their comfort zone. It is easier for children to list words or sounds that rhyme aloud than match a given set of pictures. Listing words with the same beginning sound is a common mix up when trying to rhyme. The activity gave each child a page with a picture and three empty boxes. The children had to find three objects that rhymed with the assigned picture. Many students could tell me several words that rhyme with their picture, but it was challenging to look through the pile of objects to find three specific items that went with the page. For some, it proved to be a frustrating task in the beginning, but the children stayed on task and followed through. This doubled as an activity of perseverance; I am proud of the class for sticking with it and, also, helping classmates through their difficulties.

When I told the class they would be painting on plastic, on an upside down table, all while standing, I got a lot of laughter and some quizzical looks. Many thought I was joking, until they noticed the tables ready for painting. This has been one of my favorite activities to date. Not only does it foster creativity, fun, and memorable experiences, it is so good for their little bodies. Vertical surface working, allows for more movement and better posture. Working on a vertical surface strengthens the abdomen, back, shoulders, and arms of the students. It also gives them a sense of freedom and confidence to find positions (stand, kneel, sit, etc.) that are comfortable and make “working” more enjoyable. This way of working naturally advocates the correct wrist, head/neck, and grasp positions. I could write a book on the advantages of vertical surface working. It has many benefits for preschool children, and it is fun at any stage. I encourage you all to try to implement this method at home. The fridge is an excellent (and easy) way to do so; add some paper, tape, and crayons - viola! Easy vertical workstation at home. The highlight of this activity, for me, was watching the children as they walked around to look at everyone’s art. Seeing the pride on their faces as they explained their art and the kindness displayed as they looked at and commented on their friend’s art was simply priceless.

Have a blessed day!

Mrs. Claire

Claire Gordon