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2022 is the year to get your children moving as movement literally grows their brains.

But before we start, here is a little reminder of the guidelines published by the UK Chief Medical Officer in September 2019

Under-5s

Infants (less than 1 year):

  • Infants should be physically active several times every day in a variety of ways, including interactive floor-based activity, e.g., crawling
  • For infants not yet mobile, this includes at least 30 minutes of tummy time spread throughout the day while awake (and other movements such as reaching and grasping, pushing, and pulling themselves independently, or rolling over); more is better

NB: Tummy time may be unfamiliar to babies at first, but can be increased gradually, starting from a minute or two at a time, as the baby becomes used to it. Babies should not sleep on their tummies.

Toddlers (1-2 years):

Toddlers should spend at least 180 minutes (3 hours) per day in a variety of physical activities at any intensity, including active and outdoor play, spread throughout the day; more is better

Pre-schoolers (3-4 years):

Pre-schoolers should spend at least 180 minutes (3 hours) per day in a variety of physical activities spread throughout the day, including active and outdoor play. More is better; the 180 minutes should include at least 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity.

UK Chief Medical Officers’ Physical Activity Guidelines Published 7 September 2019

Add a morning warm-up and end of the day cool-down to your daily routine

Simple effective warm-up

A simple 5-minute warm-up will raise the heart rate and get the blood flowing so you are ready for the day ahead.

To make this fun, why not work together creating the warm-up with the children. This will give them ownership of the activity.

Your warm-up sequence should be very simple, only consisting of jumps, runs on the spot and claps. Once they have mastered the sequence you can develop it further and extend the warm-up time as they progress. Don’t forget this is also good for adults!

Cool-down and stretch

Put on some relaxing music and practice your yoga poses together followed by a well-deserved nap, as you close your eyes, listening to the calming music.

Get outside and go on a bear hunt

Get outside and go on a bear hunt! Take the children out in the garden or the park for an hour (if not too cold) and see how many bears, birds, squirrels, and rabbits you can find. Why not join in with the RSPB’s Big Schools Bird Watch.

For extra movement and exercise get the children to stomp like bears or even jump in puddles like a baby bear. You can also fly like birds and run with the squirrels hunting for nuts.

On your return from the park or garden why not make a den. A den is a perfect place to have a teddy bear’s picnic and the children can take turns pouring the drinks and getting the snacks.

Get out the trusty parachute

There are so many different games you can play with a parachute, and it always brings so much excitement to the room.

To get you started here are a couple of activities that will get the arms moving and raise those heart rates.

When everyone is holding the parachute, place items (soft teddys etc.) in the centre. The game is to see how many you can shake or throw off.

Put one ball (soft) in the centre of the parachute. Call out the name of one of the children - everyone must try to get the ball to roll towards that child.

A little bit of imagination makes a giant jellyfish

Create a jellyfish from a large hula hoop covered in dangly ribbons, wool or string. Whoever holds the hula hoop is the jellyfish. Pop on some fun music, Disney’s “Under the sea” would be perfect, and then stop the music and freeze as the jellyfish swims around between the children. If anyone moves, they join the jellyfish (making him bigger and bigger as he swims between the children when the music stops again.

There are so many different sea animals to meet under the sea to get them moving.

Create an obstacle course together

Get the children to help you create an obstacle course indoors or outdoors using any resources you have available.

If you create an indoor obstacle course, you could make it even more exciting by pretending to go through the Amazon.

You can take them to so many different places with an obstacle course ranging from the North Pole to the Amazon – it just needs a little imagination. The added touch of your amazing imagination and creativity will make it more inviting and so much fun for the children and means they will want to join in again and again.

Don’t forget to look after yourself

For good physical and mental health, adults should aim to be physically active every day. Any activity is better than none, and more is better still.

Each week, adults should accumulate at least 150 minutes (2 1/2 hours) of moderate-intensity activity (such as brisk walking or cycling); or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity (such as running); or even shorter durations of very vigorous-intensity activity (such as sprinting or stair climbing); or a combination of moderate, vigorous, and very vigorous-intensity activity.

UK Chief Medical Officers’ Physical Activity Guidelines Published 7 September 2019

References

UK Chief Medical Officers’ Physical Activity Guidelines Published 7 September 2019
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/832868/uk-chief-medical-officers-physical-activity-guidelines.pdf

About the author:

Gina’s background was originally ballet, but she has spent the last 27 years teaching movement and dance in mainstream, early years and SEND settings as well as dance schools.

Whilst teaching, Gina found the time to has create the ‘Hi-5’ dance programme to run alongside the Australian Children’s TV series and the Angelina Ballerina Dance Academy for Hit Entertainment. 

Her proudest achievement to date is her baby Littlemagictrain.  She created this specifically to help children learn through make-believe, music and movement.  One of the highlights has been seeing Littlemagictrain delivered by Butlin’s famous Redcoats with the gorgeous ‘Bonnie Bear’ on the Skyline stage.

Gina has qualifications of teaching movement and dance from the Royal Ballet School, Trinity College and Royal Academy of Dance.

Use the code ‘PARENTA’ for a 20% discount on Littlemagictrain downloads from ‘Special Editions’, ‘Speech and Language Activities’, ‘Games’ and ‘Certificates’.

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