Fun games to develop language, movement and creativity
Many teachers and parents look for ways of including valuable developmental skills into games with young children. Mary Mountstephen shared this blog giving some information about Marlene Rattigan’s useful book. Entitled Kidz-fiz-biz:Scarf Magic, the book contains a DVD and 2 children’s scarves. You can access it at www.kidsfizbiz.com.
In this blog we’d like to introduce you to some fun activities that you can do with your child at home or with small groups of friends. Scarves have enormous educational potential to stimulate language development, mathematical concepts and vocabulary and physical skills such as coordination, body control and body awareness. Some children need a little extra support to develop these skills, and Scarf Magic is an ideal way to do this in an enjoyable and active way,
You need enough scarves for children to be able to make a choice, and allow them free play initially, joining in yourself. There are many sources of scarves and friends may be happy to hand over unwanted gifts. The scarves should be:
60 cm square for the children 60 cm or 1 metre square for the adults
As with all activities, set the ground rules first of where the children are allowed to move, and set boundaries around what they can and can’t do to play safely and that the scarves must be treated with respect and folded away neatly at the end of each session.
Spend some time initially exploring how to make the scarves move: Throw them in the air, slither them around on the floor, scrunch them up and watch them unfold. Throwing and Catching
- Scrunch the scarf into a little ball with both hands and throw the scarf high in the air, catching it with both hands. This can be done sitting, standing, and even moving around to music. You can also vary the speed and type of music to change the mood.
- When this has been mastered, you can progress to throwing with one hand and catching with the other. It is a good idea to keep alternating the throwing and catching hands as this improves coordination and eye-hand control. Making Shapes and Maths Activities You can use the scarves to explore mathematical language:
- Fold the scarf into a rectangle and a triangle and count the number of corners and sides
- Can you make the scarf into a smaller square by folding it up?
- Are there any shapes they can find on the scarf? Balancing and Crawling Activities There are many different ways to be creative with moving that can also help develop language, coordination and perseverance. Some children may balance really well on one leg, but not the other, so encourage them to find different ways to experiment with this.
- Crawl around the room with the scarf tucked into the back of clothing, to make a tail. Play follow the leader. Stop on a signal and lift up one arm or one leg
- Stand opposite a partner and hold one scarf between them, then try to balance in different ways
These are just a few ways to use scarves that can take your children on a ‘voyage of discovery’. The possibilities are endless and children often come up with their own ideas that can be added to your bank of ideas.