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Movement and Motor Skills: Indoor Activities for Cold Winter Days

— The Parent-Child Home Program
Updated on Feb 29, 2008

The winter months can be long and hard for small children and their parents because outdoor play is often very limited. You can avoid the winter blues and blahs by doing lots of moving and playing inside. Indoor movement and play activities use energy, improve coordination, and help your two- to five-year-old build their large motor skills which use the larger muscles, like those in arms and legs.  Learning and practicing these skills is an important part of early childhood development and getting ready for school.

Movement activities and games are not only good for building coordination and keeping young children healthy and strong, they are also a great way to reinforce critical skills, like eye-hand coordination, following directions, and learning the alphabet, numbers, or colors.

Music is a wonderful tool for encouraging movement and interactive games. Music can make the rules easier to learn, intensify children’s involvement in a game, and help children keep time while they play. Incorporating music into games and everyday activities makes learning fun.

Try some of these movement activities during the winter months:

Make Your Own Big Blocks

Create giant blocks by covering empty detergent boxes and cereal boxes with brightly colored construction paper or contact paper (you can also use newspaper, paper bags, magazines or wrapping paper). Help children write large numbers or letters on the sides of the blocks and play letter and number games with them. Children will use their imaginations while they build and exercise large motor skills like bending and moving large objects.
 
One Foot Game
  • Have your child(ren) stand on one foot (this helps develop balancing skills).
  • Have them hold the raised foot with the same hand.
  • Sing the song below together as they try to keep their balance. 
  • As their balance improves, have them hop on one foot and then hop first on one foot and then the other, alternating feet throughout the activity.
(To the tune of Wheels on the Bus)
I can balance on just one foot
just one foot
just one foot
I can balance on just one foot
as still as a statue  
 
Boogie-Woogie Alphabet

This simple game is wonderful exercise for the whole family and helps children learn their letters (requires 3 to 4 people):

  • Put on your favorite age-appropriate music with a good beat for dancing.
  • Explain that you are going to cooperate and make letters with your bodies on the floor.
  • Take turns calling out letters and instructing the other players how to lie on the floor to form the letter.   

Sesame Street: Kids’ Favorite Songs- This CD contains classic children’s songs like Old MacDonald and She’ll Be Coming Around the Mountain sung by the beloved Sesame Street characters. Available at most music retailers and on Amazon.com through our website: www.parent-child.org.

One World, One Kid-  An international celebration of music, this Putamayo CD features songs for children from around the world.  The selections were made by a six-year-old who created his own radio show to cheer up a sick friend.  Proceeds from the CD go to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. You can also support The Parent-Child Home Program by purchasing the album on Amazon.com through our website: www.parent-child.org.

Great Big Book of Children's Games by Debra Wise

This anthology of children’s games explains numerous indoor movement games including old favorites like “London Bridge” and new original ones like “Pass the Present.”  Available on Amazon.com through our website: www.parent-child.org. (McGraw-Hill)

Recommended books and toys are available on our website by clicking on the Amazon.com link: www.parent-child.org
 
 
© 2006 The Parent-Child Home Program, Inc.
The Parent-Child Home Program
1415 Kellum Place, Suite 101
Garden City, New York 11530
www.parent-child.org
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