Children need to continue to increase their ability to regulate their body movements and develop their muscles. This includes whole body movements such as jumping and balancing, as well as small muscles in hands and fingers to be able to write. All physical development can be made into games, so children do not even realize they are developing important skills to be ready for kindergarten. Here are some ideas to try to increase your child’s physical readiness for school.
Physical activities with a balloon
Move like an animal
Cutting with scissors
With just a simple balloon and a few props, children can learn a variety of physical skills to help them get ready for kindergarten, all while having fun!
CAUTION: CHOKING HAZARD
Children under 8 years of age can choke or suffocate on uninflated and/or broken balloons. These activities should be conducted under direct supervision of an adult.
An adult will need to blow up and tie off the balloon. Any size or shape balloon will work.
Activity 1: UP!
How many times can your child gently tap the balloon and keep it up in the air without it falling to the floor? Count out loud with your child for each tap of the balloon. Can he or she tap the balloon more times on the next turn?
Activity 2: Balance
Using a paper plate, have your child balance the balloon on the paper plate. Can he or she keep the balloon on the plate while standing still? While walking with short steps? Big steps? For an added challenge, try swapping out a clean fly swatter for the plate.
Activity 3: Balloon game
Tape a craft stick to a paper plate to make a handle for a “racquet.” Each person should have a racquet for this game. Count how many times you can hit the balloon back and forth to each other. Try hitting the balloon in different ways, such as underhanded and overhanded. Your child can also tap the balloon up in the air with the racquet to see how many times he or she can do it in a row (compare the count to activity 1!).
Using masking tape, create lines on the floor for your child to walk on…straight, zigzag, curvy. You can also make large shapes or letters!
Play with scarves, handkerchiefs, or bandanas while listening to a variety of music! Encourage your child to move their body and their scarf to the rhythm and feel of the music.
Ask your child to move like different animals—frog, horse, duck, elephant, rabbit, snake. You can make this into a game by saying such things as, “Jump like a frog to your chair.”
Invite your child to play with marshmallows and toothpicks. By sticking the toothpick between marshmallows can they create a 3-dimensional object.
Encourage your child to correctly hold and practice cutting with child-size, blunt ended scissors. They can cut up junk mail, scraps of paper, straws, ribbon, yarn, or playdough.
Use a highlighter to write your child’s name. Have your child write their name over it trying to stay within the highlighted area.