Wednesday, July 21, 2010

You Don't Need Cake to Celebrate

How do you celebrate your students/children's birthdays?  Do you have a favorite birthday song, game or food?  Do you have a birthday basket to pick out a present or book?  Do you have a family/friend party?

Many schools encourage celebrating without food due to food allergies and concerns about healthy eating.  When my daughter was in preschool she wore a birthday crown that she made at school and a special birthday pin.  In elementary school she gets to pick a book out of the birthday basket and her name is announced over the loud speaker.

Movement Activity- Birthday Wishes
When I celebrate a student's birthday, the class makes a giant cake (a big  seated circle around the birthday child.) The reason I have the children sit is so the class can focus on the special birthday girl/boy.  I "light" each candle, and the children extend their arms overhead and flicker their fingers. We sing "Happy Birthday"  while the birthday child dances to his/her song.  Then with a movement that represents the wind, the birthday child "blows" each candle out.  Each  candle" is blown out and melts to the ground.

Of course, this activity does not only have to take place in school.  Try it at your next birthday celebration and add some movement to the "Happy Birthday" song.  I love to move when I sing, especially when I am trying to hit those stubborn high notes!

Have fun celebrating with movement with the kids in your life!


Monday, July 12, 2010

The Itsy Bitsy Spider Practices Her Fine Motor Skills!

The itsy bitsy spider climbed up the water spout,
down came the rain and washed the spider out,
out came the sun and dried up all the rain,
and the itsy bitsy spider climbed up the spout again.

I am sure most of you have heard this rhyme before.  Most of you probably know the hand gestures that go with the rhyme.  Fingers together, thumb on pointer finger, pointer finger on thumb climbing like a spider.  What is so great about this little dance is that the focus is on fine motor skills.

People usually think of dance as big full body movements.  Fingers can dance too, and it is very important for finger strength and coordination to do so.  The skills involved in little fingers dancing like an itsy bitsy spider are the same in holding a pencil, drawing a straight line and cutting with scissors.

So on a very hot day when jumping around is the last thing you want to do with the little ones in your life, try creating a finger dance.  Not only is it fun but essential for fine motor development.

Some fun finger games:
  1. Where is thumbkin?
  2. Little Bunny Foo Foo
  3. Patty Cake
  4. Open Shut Them
Create your own.  Put music on and see how your fingers can dance, first one finger at a time then one hand at a time, then both hands together!

Have fun dancing with the hands of the little ones in your life!