How do you encourage children to move more?

We hear a lot about children move so much less than the previous generation. So in this age of technology and greatly reduced outdoor playtime how can we encourage more movement in our children?

What is meant by moving? As a movement teacher I see it as getting as many different ways of moving as possible – so hanging, crawling, balancing, jumping, climbing as well as running and walking. It’s easy enough to get this movement out in playgrounds or out on walks, but when the weather is not so nice what can we offer indoors?

1) Strewing

Putting obstacles and opportunities to move round the house. I have these Gonge riverstones which have been a really worthwhile investment. Balancing, pretending the floor is lava and moving from one room to the other are our favourites.

Other things are yoga blocks and half domes. You could also use cushions and pillows and jump from one to another.

Gonge Riverstones

Hanging blankets over chairs can make caves and tunnels to crawl and roll under. Can you wriggle on your belly, crawl on your hands and knees?

Making a spider web by winding yarn around chairs (or in this case ladders) is really good fun. I was thinking hanging bells on some of the yarn for even more of a challenge – can you get through without ringing the bell?

Practice balancing by putting a wooden plank across bricks. I’ve invested in a foam balance beam but you could also just put a belt on the floor and practice on that.

Get a chin up bar and attach it at various heights – we’ve had ours low so you can step over it and crawl under it as well as hang from it and then moved it higher as the little ones have grown so it is more of an encouragement to hang. It’s an irresistible draw and hanging is great not only for upper body and arm strength, but opening out the chest and preparing for fine motor skills such as writing.

Rosie is a Natural Movement teacher running classes in Ipswich and surrounding areas. She has two movement gurus in the shape of her sons who are constantly showing her different ways to have fun by moving as much as possible.

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