I am so active!

by Jacqueline Harding. Children's bodies are growing and developing fast and they seem to have a real need to try out their newly-acquired skills at every opportunity.

Girls jumping

Introduction

Being active comes naturally to children. Quite often, they simply can’t sit still. They have an in-built desire to keep their bodies moving.

But on those days when you are stuck indoors, how can grown-ups harness that seemingly neverending supply of energy and keep their child busy?

How CBeebies can help

Programmes such as LazyTown, Waybuloo and Boogie Beebies – which include lots of physical activity – are great for audience participation and can inspire your child to try out some energetic movements after the show has finished. In Boogie Beebies, where the children can learn different dance techniques, why not encourage your child to put on their own dance show as soon as the TV has been turned off?

Other shows are great for inspiring your child to get creative with arts and crafts. The Mister Maker activities and games on the CBeebies website will help perfect those fine motor skills and, at the same time, develop hand-eye coordination.

With Bob The Builder, your child can enjoy some role-play – pretending to build just like Bob by playing with old cardboard boxes, cereal packets, or blocks. These kind of actions help to develop the bigger muscle movements in their trunk, arms and legs.

Gradually, young children learn to control both the large and small movements of their bodies and, through trial and error, they begin to learn how to negotiate obstacles with remarkable precision.

Grown-ups can also channel some of their child’s physical energy into creative pursuits by helping children use and experiment with different types of materials, such as play dough, clay, and paint. Another bonus is that when children are concentrating on new skills, they tend to keep out of mischief!

How to make a magic moment

‘Watch me! I can do it! I can dance!’ The unmistakable cries of joy and excitement from a young child as they master a new physical skill are priceless.

All they need is a willing audience to turn the moment of revelation into a magical moment. And that’s where you come in – clap, cheer and tell your child how proud you are. Guaranteed to put a smile on both your faces!

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Top tips

  • Set up a mini obstacle
  • course in your front room. Just use some safe items they can crawl
  • through and/or steer their bodies around.Try playing ‘Follow the
  • Leader’ – where you take it in turns with your child to make funny large
  • and small movements around the room.A rainy day? No problem.
  • Keep a store of recycled materials and old sheets/pieces of cloth which
  • can magically be whisked out and turned into a play den or Bob the
  • Builder’s home!Create a pretend ‘stage’ in
  • the corner of a room and invite your child to demonstrate some of the
  • moves they saw on Boogie Beebies, or put on a little singing show for
  • you.

Expert opinion

Getting their bodies moving, dancing, jiggling, flopping, crawling, running and bouncing in any way they possibly can is as essential to the young child as the air they breathe.

Jacqueline Harding, Child development expert

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