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Do you remember all the childhood games and songs you and your friends used to play? Well, it is easy to forget the words and it would be nice to have some help learning how to use these with your child. I have created a book that will help you do just that. From a gross motor perspective, I have outlined a number of famous songs and games and given you a way to use these to work with your child on developing core, balance, and overall strength. The following is a small sample of what is included in this book. This will hopefully be followed soon by more books in this series. For now, this book, called My Baby Moves: Toddler Games is available HERE 

 

Here is a sample:

 

Games, Games, Games

 

Here are some games you might have played as a kid. It’s okay to help your child go through the motions if he/she is unable to do the motions himself. Have a sibling participate and play the games as well and you will probably notice your child will participate more. Your child will love the games more if the whole family gets involved. All of the games are easily modified for younger children by going slower and helping guide them. Other modifications are given separately for each game as needed.

 SONGS:

Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes

 

Follow the directions from this song and repeat the song getting faster each time. Use this to teach body parts and work on balance. You can even play this sitting down with younger children.

 

Start this game in sitting, if you like. It is easily progressed to standing as your child develops. I like to continue this game through grade school years and really play up the song getting faster to promote following directions as well as coordination and balance.

 

Head, shoulders, knees and toes,

Knees and toes. (Point to each body part as you say it)

 

Head, shoulders, knees and toes,

Knees and toes. (Point to each body part as you say it)

 

And eyes, and ears, and mouth,

And nose. (Point to each body part as you say it)

 

Head, shoulders, knees and toes,

Knees and toes. (Point to each body part as you say it)

 

Alternate version:

 

Heads shoulders hands elbows (Point to each body part as you say it)

Hands elbows (Point to each body part as you say it)

Hands shoulders hands elbow (Point to each body part as you say it)

Hands elbow (Point to each body part as you say it)

And eyes and ears and mouth and nose (Point to each body part as you say it)

Heads shoulder hands elbow (Point to each body part as you say it)

Hands elbow. (Point to each body part as you say it)

 

 

Jumping Monkeys 

 

  1. 1. Let your child JUMP on your bed.
  2. 2. Be sure your child is safe and won’t fall off—start with holding hands and then slowly reduce your help to one hand then no hands!
  3. 3. Here is the most common song associated with this game:

 

Five little monkeys jumping on the bed (jump up and down)

One fell off and bumped his head. (pat your head)

Momma called the doctor and the doctor said, (hold a pretend phone to your ear)

“NO MORE MONKEYS JUMPING ON THE BED!” (wag your finger)

 

Four little monkeys jumping on the bed (jump up and down)

One fell off and bumped his head. (pat your head)

Momma called the doctor and the doctor said, (hold a pretend phone to your ear)

“NO MORE MONKEYS JUMPING ON THE BED!” (wag your finger)

 

Keep going until all the monkeys are gone!

 

OK I know, the bed is not always ideal. Get your couch cushions of and let your child jump on the springs or the cushion or both! Make sure you hold their hands and stay right with them. You can also play this game straight on the floor. Vary the rhythm and volume and have a blast watching your child learn to not only jump but mimic the motions.

 

Don’t forget the value of learning to count down with this game as well. You can work on this in conjunction with the fun of jumping! After each time, ask how many monkeys are left or help your child count the number of fingers left on your hand.

 

 ACTIVITIES: (sample)

 

Bubble or Flashlight Jump

 

This game is great for movement skills and increasing strength and balance for improving walking and jumping skills. Use bubbles or a flashlight to have her stomp the bubble or light. Make it interesting by having him/her reach with his/her hands some of the time too.

 

Now, this can get extremely fun to progress through developmental stages. With a flashlight, your child may just want to hold it instead of following the light! Use the same concepts with a flashlight as you do the bubbles but have them chase the light along a wall or the floor or maybe on their own foot!  I like to make a “beep” sound as they touch the light and make the light jump to a new location. This is usually a favorite and the children usually want to repeat it over and over.

 

For Bubbles:

 

4—6 months

Start with supported sitting activities and have your baby reach for the bubbles and say “pop” as they pop them!  You can catch a bubble with the bubble wand and this allows you to control where your baby reaches. Challenge your child but don’t frustrate them. Make is fun and keep repeating the “bub bub bubbles” as you get the bubbles and then “pop” as they pop. Most children cannot resist this!

 

6—12 months

As your child begins to sit independently, make the bubbles more challenging to reach. Try up above their shoulders and down low as well as to the side and forward. As your baby gets moving into a crawling position, lure him or her forward into this position to reach and “pop” bubbles while creating a very good strengthening activity.

 

When your baby starts standing, have your child pull to stand to get a bubble or if they are already up, have them squat to get a bubble. I call this the “up / down principle” and it is a way of making your baby work a little more. Use this with handing them anything. Make them work just a little more to get it while making the activity fun at the same time. If your baby gets frustrated, pull back on the work portion and just play. Remember, playing and interacting should be your first priority.

 

12—18 months

 

As walking skills improve, work on stomping the bubbles to make them pop. You can try just blowing a large group of bubbles and having your child chase them as well. Did you know that bubbles “stick” to you when you are wet? Use them in conjunction with playing outside in bathing suits and sprinklers or any other water activity. Your child will love getting bubbles “stuck” to them!

 

18—36 months

 

Bubbles may seem not as exciting as some of the educational toys and more interactive toys available as your child ages; however, I have found that children never seem to tire of them. Keep expanding your play with them to challenge balance and strength. By now, you will be fighting off your little one who wants to “do it themselves”. Get a spill proof bubble container and let them go!

 

Get outside and try this activity:

Materials

Cookie sheet

Bubble solution

Spatulas, collander spoons, and any safe kitchen utensil with holes

 

Poor the solution onto the cookie sheet and let your child experiment with what makes the best bubbles. You don’t have to blow bubbles –you can swing these around (like a bubble wand, which is also a wonderful toy). It may surprise you what makes the best bubbles!

 

You can make your own bubble solution with just water and dish soap. Some people add glycerin to help the bubbles not pop so easily, but I don’t recommend this. Bubble solution is cheap and readily available and the bubbles are not meant to last. Have fun and let your inner child go!

 

 

Bubble Machines:

Yes, these are fun and create less work for you in the beginning. I really don’t mind these but it is so much more fun to work with your toddler and ask them “which one do you think will make better bubbles?”. This game became so much a part of our outside play that I had a cookie sheet dedicated to the garage!