Fill It Up Friday- Big Body Play

Fill it up Friday
Each Friday we will look at an article to fill up on the whys of teaching.
I recently read a book by Frances Carlson on gross motor activity.  I was lucky enough to have sat in a class she taught at the NAEYC convention in CA.  If you haven't heard about NAEYC yet, just stick around.  That will be one of our future Wednesday Words!
So Carlson is an amazing speaker!  She made you remember the gross motor activities of your youth in ways that made you want to jump right back on that tire swing (and why is it that we don't play on those as adults anymore?!? I so need one!).  Her goal in connecting us back to our childhoods was simple.  She wanted us to realize how important those rough and tumble activities were for us.
Now think about your center or your own home.  How often do we let children jump from things or run into things or just roll around?  If you live and work in places like myself those activities have been all but banned.  Carlson suggests in her book, Big Body Play, that children can return to these activities with a few simple guidelines.
Since my kids generally want to play cops and robbers I'll list what she suggests for interactive big body play or what she terms "rough and tumble play". In this types of play there are several characteristics that separates it from aggressive play.  She says to look for:
  • Smiles vs. angry or aggressive expressions
  • Open hands instead of closed fists
  • Play that lasts only as long as both parties are interested
I was able to teach the open hand and wanting to play rules to my 3 year olds easily.  I kept an eye out for the smiles and opened the field for our cop versus bad guy play. The kids were so excited!  They were able to engage with one another in ways that they hadn't before.  Their bodies were able to get more of the needed sensory input.
If you are concerned about the safety of children who want to engage in more interactive big body play you should check this book out. 
Have the standards changed since you were a kid?  What are the expectations at your home or school?
What was the most dangerous thing you did at the park?  Mine was jumping on and off the tire swing while it was at the highest point.  I am so not that brave anymore!


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