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Friday, June 21, 2024

Raise Your Play IQ – The Power of Movement


Mollie_WillisThe New Year is here and many of us are talking about moving more—to reduce weight, to increase energy, and to take better care of our bodies. Movement is a powerful tool for parents, caregivers, and educators of young children! Eloise Elliott, Ph.D., creator of Healthy Hearts for Kids, and Steve Sanders, Ph.D., author of Designing Preschool Movement Programs, tell us that regular physical activity helps children build healthy bones, muscles and joints; reduces fat; prevents or delays high blood pressure; and may even increase capacity for learning. Mental health professionals also explain that physical exertion can calm us and have a positive impact on our social and emotional health.

Adults and children alike can use movement for exercise, development, and just for fun! Large muscle activities are important for toddlers who are learning to walk, balance, and climb. As we grow, movement continues to help us develop. Children become increasingly independent and like to do things, “by my own,” which is exclaimed by 3-year olds at the Museum on a regular basis!

Fun is important when working to get our young ones to move. Take a load off, play, and give these activities a try.

Just dance. Jim Gill is a local artist who records interactive music for children. Children love to “Dance any way they want to, dance any way they please…”; they listen to a song called Spin Again, again and again, dancing, often wildly, while the “washing machine is washing them clean.”

Stretch and move. Yoga is a great stretching and strength-building activity. Babar, the elephant, provides a wonderful introductory approach to yoga in Babar’s Yoga for Elephants by Laurent de Brunhoff.

Happy New Year! Let’s get moving for our health, growth, and development!

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Mollie H.M. Willis
Mollie H.M. Willishttp://www.dupagechildrensmuseum.org
Raise Your Play IQ™ is written by Mollie H.M. Willis, M.S. Curriculum & Instruction, an early learning consultant to Dupage Children's Museum. Ms. Willis has more than ten years of experience in early learning including preschool administration and teaching. She can be reached through the museum at admin@dupagechildrensmuseum.org.