Good Activities to Promote Body Awareness in Children

by Victoria Thompson

Some kids are all over the place, bouncing and tumbling. Perhaps your child is one of these. Don't worry, he is actually engaging in body awareness activities. Children learn body movements through exploration and utilizing sensory movements. So the next time your little one wants to smear the mashed potatoes across his face, just remember that he's learning something and smile.

Sing "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes" to introduce or practice locating these body parts. Singing is a natural and easy way for children to both memorize and internalize information. Model the song slowly to begin, making the motions as you sing. Gradually speed it up to increase the fun. "If You're Happy and You Know It" is also a song that promotes movement in kids. They'll clap hands, stomp feet and whatever else you can thing of to make this song as silly as possible.

Use total physical response in the Q and A Body Game. Play it with one child or a group. An adult stands in front and asks a question such as, "What body part wears socks?" The child answers by moving his feet. Continue asking questions to allow him to move all his body parts. Switch the game up a little bit and have the child make noises with various body parts like smacking lips or marching in place. At the end of the game, the child closes his eyes while the adult makes a body part sound. The child then talks to guess which body part made the sound.

The Body Awareness Game is a relay game that challenges kids to utilize body parts to complete a task. To play, you need enough kids to line up in two groups on one side of the room. Draw or create a line of tape in the middle of the room. Give the first kid in each line a bean bag and tell him which body part to use to carry it, such as between elbows, knees or on the forehead. He then balances the bean bag, walks up to the line and then back to his group with the bean bag intact. The next player then begins.

Finger painting is a tactile activity that supports a young child's development. Set up the activity in a space free from distraction and have plenty of old newspaper and paper towels handy to clean up afterwards. Pour a little non-toxic paint onto paper plates for easy access. Demonstrate spreading the paint around a large sheet of white paper and let your child try it to create patterns or just smear it on. Don't attempt this activity if you or your child is feeling cranky or tired, since the messiness will just add to your frustration.

About the Author

Based in North Carolina, Victoria Thompson has taught middle school for the past 15 years. She holds a Masters of Education in middle school instruction from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She teaches English daily to English as a second language students.

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