Rocking and Reaching
Bean Bags Races
(Older children) How many beanbags (balanced on your head or tail) can you drop in a basket within a certain amount of time, racing backwards and forwards in a Bear Walk.
On all fours (hands and knees or hands and feet), put a beanbag on your tail and carry it about. Drop it in to a basket - requires precision tail work! Put it on the back of your head and do the same.
Side by Side
Kneel next to a child and mirror their rocking and reaching play. Try to match them exactly. Let them be in control - they lead, you follow.
Body Ball Rock and Reach
Rock over a body ball to build the feeling of shifting weight. Hold a cushion and see if they can reach and touch it with their head and tail.
Sitting and Toppling
Soft surface topples
Piles of cushions, or on a bed are ideal for this one. If a child likes it, gently push them over so they can experience toppling safely - over and over again. Always follow what the child’s body is telling you about how gentle or vigorous to be. They must be in control of the game.
Older children) Sit with a curled spine and head tucked in, feet on the floor and wrap your arms round your knees. Then roll backwards down your spine and rock back up. Try it to the sides. (Play one to one if you are concerned about safety).
Deliberate teetering and toppling
Sit in a safe and soft environment - you and a child. Tip over to one side until …. you just have to fall. Have a very soft body and roll with the topple. Go gently and see where it takes you. Repeat and see where it takes you each time. It can be a serious enquiry, not an excitable activity. What you model will make all the difference. (Play one to one if you are concerned about safety).
(Older children) Two lines of children create a hoop tunnel by holding the hoops upright between them. Two crawl through and join on the end. (Their hoop has to be run to the end so they can hold it again).
Low Level Hunt
Put numbered stickers on the underneath of tables and chairs, or on the floor around the space, and invite children to crawl to find them. They have to find 1 to 5 (or whatever). You can combine this with a maths task if you work with older children. Bring back the numbers and use them to …..
Make human tunnels (in a bear standing position) for children to crawl through. Lovely interactive adult-child game. Invite children to make tunnels too.
Start with one, two and the others join on, snaking around the room in a long crawling line. Or a small herd.
Bear Walking Games
Walk the lines
Put down two lines of tape, about half a meter apart and invite children to bear walk down them - forwards, backwards and sideways.
Add Bear Walking into the kinds of movement you encourage in games, and to get about your space.
(Older children) Play Tag - instead of running on two legs, bear-run on four. Tag must be on a hand to keep you low and safe.
Clear a space and invite herds of bears to journey from one place to another. Inside and out.
Clambering and Climbing
Make bridges with your body by planting yourself firmly on all fours and inviting children to climb over you. You can be as high or low as they need you to be … and you can keep them very safe by adjusting, or holding, as necessary. You might get tugged around - so only do this if you like it.
Make your Cushion Mountain - then lay a beach mat, or similar, over it to make a slide. Create a good slope. Climbing up the mat can be even more body work.
Invite children to pile all the soft cushions and soft seating, or gym mats, in one place and clamber over them. With older children, as long as you feel they are safe, inviting them to do it fast can kick developmental movement patterns into gear (no time to think, so the body leads rather than the brain).
Coming Up to Vertical
Hold on to something, stand on one leg and stomp the other foot to great dance tunes. Progress from holding with two hands to one.
Tidy up time
Hold on to something, then lift up the soft things that need to be tidied away off the floor with your foot ... and put them into a box or basket, or onto a shelf.
Kneeling and toppling
Kneel up tall. How far can you take your hips to one side before you want to softly topple to the side? Notice how this invites the trunk to counter balance, or you might want to stick an arm out. Extensor protectors at work.
Balance on your knees without using your legs and feet to do lots of the balance. This means the hips and core will be doing the work. (Soft floor to protect knees).
Squat and topple
Kneel next to a child and mirror their Rocking and Reaching play. Try to match them exactly. Let them be in control - they lead, you follow.
Start in squat and bounce to tunes the children choose.
In a squat, walk along a track or to the next activity. You will see who finds this difficult straight away. Offer choice - bum shuffle or squat walk - so children can find what they can do, and succeed. Make a note of who might need more Floor Play and Halfway Play to build the foundations.
Body Ball Bounce
Sit on a small (football sized or a little bigger) soft ball and bounce up and down. Prepares the body for squatting if it is tricky.