Do you ever catch yourself telling your child to “sit still” or “calm down”? Though in some situations, it’s appropriate to keep your child from disrupting, there is also a time and a place for play and movement (including those screams!). Think about when you’ve been sitting for a long time in a car or at your desk. Doesn’t too much time sitting still make you tired, unfocused and maybe even moody? Yes! Because play (or movement) is essential for our creativity, happiness and our ability to express ourselves.
Why Don’t We Play Anymore?
We can’t blame ourselves for trying to keep our kids still. When we were young our parents said to us the same things, “sit down”, “inside voices”, “stay still”. And as we grow up, society no longer encourages adults to get moving or be creative. With focus on work (working a job, working to parent, working out), there is a loss of play! Now, more research has shown that while we can ask for kids’ attention and encourage a calm learning environment, to achieve both of those, we need to allow for play. Researchers are suggesting that movement and playful creativity lead to better behavior in the classroom, and that movement for kids can combat a number of things, including obesity, depression and attention-deficit disorders.
What You Can Do to Increase Play and Movement
There are ways to ensure kids are moving in the classroom, including the suggestions by Northeast Ohio Parent, which include movement breaks, yoga ball seats, and standing desks. Parents can also encourage play at home with some of these simple ideas:
- Limiting screen time – this encourages kids to find other ways to entertain themselves and use their imagination.
- Dancing in the kitchen while making dinner together. Tell Alexa to play that funky music!
- Encouraging time outside or with non-electronic toys – do you have any board games?
- Begin simple races in the backyard (who can make it to the fence and back the fastest!?)
- Opt for a family ballgame rather than watching that next episode on Netflix
Why We Implement Breaks at Camp
At Classroom Antics, we implement movement breaks into our 3-hour camp days, and time and time again, the results of these breaks show. Sometimes parents ask why if they are paying for camp, that we include breaks? Well, we believe parents are getting the most out of their money with these quick breaks! Instructors can attest to time outside on a playground, or inside in a gym as a way to allow campers to play, use their imaginations and work together. Ask any veteran instructor and they’ll tell you that the 15-30 minute breaks during camp are the perfect way to reel in a short-attention, wild class. When kids begin not listening or raising the volume, it is almost a subconscious call for time to play. Once they get that movement break, they are ready to focus, get along with one another and create within the classroom again.
Can’t remember the last time you had a small dance party in your kitchen with the family? Ask your kids what their favorite song is, pull it up on YouTube and jam out! It’s the perfect start to implementing more movement into your kids’ lives – and they’ll have a blast doing it!