Winter is here people. This means that we have less time outside because of the cold days. Here in the part of California I am located it is very very windy. So while we could go outside and play at least once a day, the wind is blowing so hard that the children will not be able to have a successful outdoor play experience. This means that during the winter we have to beef up our inclement weather plans and provide more things for the children to do that involves Gross Motor Skills inside.
When many educators think of Gross Motor skills they are thinking of things the children do outside that CAN NOT be transferred into the classroom. By that I mean activities that are all about helping children with balance, coordination and running. That is simply not true. Many activities that involve reading can made into games that involve using Gross Motor Skills. For example The Community Helpers game Dentist Visit that was with Mother Goose Time was modified by having the children jump up and down for whatever number they happened to land on. This made the game even more fun for the children and helped to build coordination and balance. It was also helpful for my 2 and new 3's in keeping their attention on the game for a longer period of time.
Another way I ward off excess energy in the classroom is by dancing. I use Dance N' Beats for this type of transitions. I pick a dance from the Dance N' Beats for the week and I use that dance between activities. We may even dance to it more than once. It all depends on the children that are in your program. Sometimes the children have more energy and it is necessary to get their energy levels down so that they can focus. The dances are simple and it is easy for you to learn. Mother Goose time even has a training video in which to help us learn the 21 moves that are used in the songs so that you do not have to go into the dancing transitions blind. I have posted a video at the end of the blog to help understand the dance moves that have been included in the Dance N' Beats program.
Circle time is another way you can add in gross motor activities for children. Mother Goose Time often has finger play songs for circle time that I turn into dances. An example of this would be the song on Day 12. The song is about cooking hot dogs. For this song we get up and dance around and then we lay on the floor pretending to be cooking hot dogs. Doing this five times really makes them tired!
These ideas and suggestions are just a starting point for avoiding cabin fever and helping parents and teachers stay sane during the winter months! If you have any other ideas please leave them in the comments.