April 23, 2018
Arizona Early Childhood Network
With recent temperatures already breaking 100 degrees, seasoned Arizonans can no longer ignore the inevitable. Summer is coming. While teachers and parents in many other states are preparing for outdoor play, we must prepare to spend the majority of our time for the next few months inside air-conditioned classrooms and homes.
Many of you may already have visions of preschoolers bouncing off the walls. Fear not! Use these helpful tips and indoor activities to maintain your sanity and help young children burn some of that excess energy—without the heatstroke!
Develop your students’ skills of observation while challenging their problem-solving skills. Create an age appropriate Scavenger Hunt that your students can complete within the classroom. For younger children, base your items around colors or patterns that they can easily discern. Older children may be able to grasp more complicated concepts, such as old versus new. An alternate option for this game that increases interactions between children is to have the scavenger hunt “items” actually be “get to know you” questions. For instance, instead of “Find something round and blue,” you can ask the children to “Find someone whose favorite color is blue.”
Hone in on those listening skills—and have a great time—with a silly game of Simon Says! Think of silly, but simple and safe movements that are accessible to your age group. Don’t forget to throw in a couple of “I didn’t say Simon” requests. Once they grasp the basic concept, you can give each student a turn to be “Simon.” This game will give the children a chance to be active inside, while also focusing on coordination and paying attention to “Simon.”
For older preschoolers who have learned the alphabet, this is a great game to solidify those skills. Create oversized cut-out letters (laminate them for multi-use) and place them around the room. Play some music and have the children dance around. When the music stops, call out a letter and have the students walk (no running) to the letter. For younger children who have not learned the alphabet, a good alternative is the “Freeze Dance.” Similar to Musical Letters, students must dance to the music. However, when the music stops, everyone must freeze! This helps to further develop physical coordination, as well as listening skills.
If all else fails, there are hundreds of child-appropriate exercise videos available for viewing, at no cost! Simply line the children up with a safe amount of space between them, and press play! The children will be able to expend their energy and grow their fitness. Join them to increase your heartrate (in a good way), too!
Summers in Arizona can be a difficult time for children and adults, alike. Use activities like these to help combat cabin fever and promote the development of several important traits and behaviors.