Time for another Summer Boredom Buster activity (finally!). Today we are making an activity cube. I must be honest, I do not recall where I read about this one, so if any of you know the source of this fantastic activity, please e-mail me so I can give credit where credit is due.
The goal of this activity is to get kids moving. I've talked to many parents over the years who think that getting their kids moving will "get them all wound up." Yes, it does get them wound up during the activity, however, it ultimately encourages calming and centering increasing focus and concentration.
Let me give an example. I once was working with a three year old who was having difficulty with her articulation. I went to her home to do an activity involving some picture cards. She was very fidgety while sitting on the floor with me. Her mother told her to sit still and when I informed her that her daughter was unable to, she looked at me with surprise. The little girl's body was saying "I need to move!" We got up and did some marching, jumping, kicking and hopping for about fifteen minutes. Much to the mother's amazement, the little girl was able to sit still and concentrate for the remainder of the session doing quite well.
So what is the lesson here? If you have an activity coming up during the day that will require concentration and calmness, give your kids the opportunity for movement and active play BEFOREHAND. For example, if you are planning to go to story time at your local library, have them run around the yard or jump some rope before you leave the house. Working the wiggles out will make it easier for them to sit calmly and pay attention to the activity at hand. Keep in mind that little kids in particular learn through movement. Kids learn best from activities that involve their hands and other senses up until about the age of nine when they are able to sit still for longer periods of time and their listening and visual skills have matured.
Getting back to today's activity, this is a great way to get the kids moving by making a game of it. Here's what you'll need:
- permanent marker
- a square shaped box
- colored paper such as construction paper
- clear packing tape or contact paper (optional)
Here's what you do:
- Cut out six different colored squares of construction paper. Be sure they are large enough to cover one side of the box. Try to pick light colors as you will be writing on them and the kids need to be able to read them.
- Glue the six sheets onto the box
- Write a different activity on each side of the cube, e.g., hop, run, skip, crab walk, etc.
- If you want the cube to last longer, you can take some clear packing tape or contact paper and wrap it around the cube.
- Have the kids take turns rolling the dice and completing the actions indicated.
If you want to add a twist, you can make another cube number 1-6 which the kids can toss to determine how many times to do the activity, e.g., hop three times, run around the yard two times, etc.
For little ones who are unable to read, you can use clip art or photos cut out from a magazine that reflect different physical movements. You could also use pictures of different animals to reflect different activities, e.g., a crab for the crab walk, a rabbit for hopping, a frog for jumping, etc.
I plan to try this activity with the preschoolers come fall. We've done other activities with homemade dice, but none involved movement. I think they will get a kick out of this one!
Have you done this activity before? If so, how did your kids like it? Do you notice increases in your children's ability to focus and concentrate after physical activity? Post your responses!
Also, if you have any ideas or suggestions for the Summer Boredom Buster series, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.