As you prepare for Winter, how can you get ready for those long days spent inside with the kids? Without a plan, it is inevitable that they will end up mindlessly swiping the tablet, watching TV, and playing video games. I admit it. I’ve done it. The day has gone by and I’ve been involved in some very important project and before I know it, I realize the children have spent nearly all day (not the recommended 2 hours) on some type of screen.
Years ago when my 12-year-old was a toddler, I bought a book called “Unplugged Play” by Bobbi Conner. That was when I still had the utopian vision that I could steer my children away from screens. Well… child 2 came and then child 3 and I found myself scrambling to keep myself sane AND make sure that the activities that the kids chose involved something brain stimulating.
I have since learned to use electronics as a tool (mostly) to help my children grow and learn. And it’s always better when the indoor play gets them moving, so they can get some of that pent up energy out.
I teach fitness classes for toddlers and preschoolers and I have used the music and videos reviewed below to foster movement and learning. And, yes, my own kids love these games, too.
Koo Koo Kanga Roo
In a culture where weird is cool, these guys land somewhere between The Wiggles and Yo Gabba Gabba. My 8-year-old daughter loves the Pop Se Ko video series, which she started doing as brain breaks in school. They really are hysterically silly. I think they watched waaaay too much Barney as children.
If you venture to their website, you will see song titles that will sneak giggles from any little boy population. Stick to Pop Se Ko and Go Noodle series and skip the Gross CD.
Mark D. Pencil
For the more hip hop inclined, Mark D. Pencil will get your kids following directions and counting, and YOU might just find yourself dancing along with the beat, too. I have used the Learning with Hip Hop and Get Up albums with toddlers and preschoolers for years, and they never seem to tire of them. This song is a popular one from ages 1 -10. Note to parents: to get best participation from your kids, participate with them and exaggerate your gestures to get them excited about moving! If you don’t, your child will just stare blankly at the screen.
“Healthy music for a kid’s heart, body, and mind”
The Learning Station is the cream of the crop when it comes to children’s educational music. They have published over 400 songs and they present at education conferences all over the world. I like that the songs encourage movement and that there are several movement themed albums including Literacy in Motion and Physical Ed.
Anyone who can get a room full of middle schoolers to sing Boom Chicka Boom, with hand gestures and all, has a special flair to be sure. Visit this link for a fun video that will surely make your kids laugh.
There are plenty of You Tube videos to watch, but the CDs are fun and are available as MP3 downloads, too.
Of course, I don’t want you to think that my utopian vision of unplugged play dissolved. In the next installment we will explore unplugged play through the eyes of my 5, 8 and 12 year old.
Comment and share your tips on how you get your kiddos moving when the weather outside is “frightful!”