Personal, Social and Emotional Development
During this pandemic, children may be feeling a range of uncomfortable emotions, including anxiety, worry or anger. It is important children know that it is OK to feel these emotions and that adults are also feeling them. However, children need strategies to help them deal with these uncomfortable emotions. One strategy to help children feel calmer is using meditation. It is also a great activity to simply encourage your child to have some ‘calm time’ perhaps after a meal or bath.
So, grab a teddy and follow this guide (edited from Twinkl)
Ask your child to lie down on their back on the floor and put a teddy bear on their tummy. Encourage them to rest their arms by their sides with their legs flat on the floor and close their eyes. Follow the script below:
Today we are going to rock the teddies to sleep using our breath. Let’s begin with a long, deep breath starting way down in your tummy and filling up your lungs. Then, breathe out slowly, letting your whole body relax into the floor. Let’s do that again; long breath in... and long breath out. Relaxing all through the body.
Now think about your tummy. Can you feel your teddy sitting on your tummy? Rock your teddy to sleep by very slowly and gently breathing. Breathing in, rocking your teddy up. Breathing out, rocking your teddy down. Slow and gentle.
Keep breathing until I clap my hands.
Now I have clapped my hands, wiggle your fingers and toes. Slowly wake up teddy. How do you feel?
Communication and Language - Responding to Sounds
First gather items to use as two instruments (e.g. a pan/spoon and any closed tub with something to shake in – rice, pasta, etc) that make very different sounds. Remember the instruments you made a few weeks ago if you had a chance! Play each one for your child to listen to first. Ask them to move around using a rhythm that fits the sound and beat what they hear. For example, they might stamp or stride while you play well spaced, loud and slow beats on the pan, then tiptoe or scurry around while you shake the shaker. Praise children for recognising contrasts by listening carefully and adapting their movements quickly each time they hear the instrument change.
Move on to creating repeating rhythms for children to copy with their movements. Play a simple mixture of quick and slow beats, include some short pauses between beats or make the sounds louder and softer. Support them by counting beats aloud at first until they gain in confidence and understanding.
You can take this further if your child enjoys the activity as follows: Give your child a steady beat first by tapping your hands on your knees saying 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4 Can you copy me? Then try the same beat with a different action so it may be tap, tap, tap, CLAP, tap, tap, tap, CLAP. If they manage this, move on to more complicated rhythms.
Physical – Developing fine motor skills
Here are a range of activities to develop children’s muscles to strengthen them towards writing. As a previous teacher of reception, I cannot stress enough how important it is that children do not skip this step. The more they develop the pincer grip (finger and thumb pinch) the better prepared they will be for writing. Click the document here to download lots of ideas.
The ‘Pom Pom Drop’ game can be adapted by dropping anything into bottles – coins, cheerios, raisins! (Of course, be aware of choking hazards if you know your child or a sibling is likely to put a resource in their mouth) I would particularly recommend ‘Tape Resist Painting’ for those needed further challenge.
Rhyme of the Week
The Grand Old Duke of York (this is a favourite of a lot of children when we march up and down the hilly mound at nursery) Encourage your child to march to a beat.
Oh, the grand old Duke of York
He had ten thousand men
He marched them up to the top of the hill
And he marched them down again
And when they were up, they were up
And when they were down, they were down
And when they were only half-way up
They were neither up nor down
For a video of this with Makaton signing CLICK HERE