I came across this idea a long, long time ago (can't remember where from, now), when Little Man was still much too young for it, and only remembered it recently when trying to think of a physical activity that I could do with Little Man and Little Lady at home.
If your toddler or young child is anything like my almost 4 year old, he/she would be a bundle of energy. I have come to realise that trying to direct an energertic, active child to engage quiet play is often an exercise in futility.
What is necessary, of course, is to engage them in activities that will allow them to burn off as much energy as possible. Going to the park or playground are common favourites, as is visiting indoor playgrounds. However, most of these require us to be active too, especially when the little ones are still little enough to require constant supervision. I don't know about you, but I seldom have energy to spare, especially in the afternoon, when it is entirely too hot to be outdoors. Indoor playgrounds would be ideal, except that they are too expensive to visit often. Besides, I get paranoid about the germs lurking around.
Enter the gross motor dice game, an activity that will allow the little bundles of energy to expend said energy and practice their gross motor skills. It can be played both indoors and out as well.
It is relatively easy to set up. I could not find any cuboid boxes lying around, so I recycled a cardboard envelope some books came in.
I cut out some squares and rectangles and arranged them like a lower-case 't'.
I then taped the edge together, forming a box. I stuffed the box with some old newspaper to help it hold its shape, before taping the final edge shut.
On each side of the box, write down an action. The Little Man and I came up with "Gallop like a horse", "Walk like a duck", "Hop like a rabbit", "Jump like a frog", "Star jumps" and "Swing your trunk like an elephant".
Little Man had great fun throwing the dice.
And doing the actions. I'm not sure which he enjoyed more.
As you can see, it was immensely difficult to get a clear picture of him as he was moving soooooo much. Can you identify which action he was doing in the various photographs?
There are so many possible variations. For the Little Lady, I'll be making one with simple actions such as kick, jump, swing arms, walk, stand up and squat down. This could be paired with a second dice with adverbs such as quickly, slowly, forwards, backwards, etc. (This has an added advantage of increasing their vocabulary!) The possibilities are endless!
What do you do when your child has "too much" energy? Please share your tips and ideas.
Little Man: 3 years 8 months
LittleLady: 19 months