speaking of learning

I like to move it, move it!

Young family dancing around the living room

Eve Tan is an experienced Speech Pathologist who works part-time at Speaking of Learning. In her other job, she works in a Key Worker role, utilising her Speech Pathology skills and also collaborating with other professionals (including OT and Psychologist) in providing early intervention to children with additional needs.

Are you a parent who gets stressed-out home-schooling your children and juggling other responsibilities (work, cooking, house chores, the list goes on…) during this stay-at-home period?

Does it sometimes feel like there are so many things to tick off the to-do-list that it is almost impossible to get some exercise done, or to just…take a break?

As a therapist running online therapy sessions throughout the day, I can relate to this to a certain extent. I often have to set reminders on my phone to take a break from looking at the screen and get some movement breaks in between seeing clients. Movement breaks make such a huge difference to our headspace, and while it’s tempting to power through the school-supervising/work hours so that we can ‘get this over and done with’, we need to allocate frequent breaks throughout the day to keep our physical and mental health in check. These breaks are so important to us and our children to help regulate our bodies. Here are some tips on how we can get moving within the current constraints, be it the colder weather or the lockdown restrictions. Hope you’ll find them useful!

When you’re stuck indoors, consider pairing one of the fun movement break ideas below with a learning task your child does not usually enjoy doing, as an incentive given after: ‘Alright, how about you finish your narrative writing task, then we’ll do a quick, fun break!’.  Quick is the key word because we know you’re busy!

1. Red Light, Green Light

Find an open area in your house. When you say, “Green light,” your child has to walk fast, then the child stops when you say, “Red light.” Allow your child to say “red light, green light” for you to stop and move, too! This is a fun activity which you can target following instructions and turn-taking skills. Win-win!

2. Dance Party

Play a song and do some silly dance moves. Pause the song every once in a while to get the child to ‘stop’/’freeze’, and play the song to start again. This is a great movement break for little children who are still learning basic concepts such as ‘Stop’ ‘Go’ and ‘Wait’ – Similar to the ‘Red Light, green light’ game, this dance party idea targets important words for road safety too, so it is good to practise these concepts in a fun setting.

3. Animal Walk

Give instructions to your child to do animal walks around the room, such as ‘hop like a bunny’, ‘crawl like a lion’, ‘stomp like an elephant’, ‘leap like a frog’. Not only do you get to help your child burn off some energy, you are also targeting language concepts such verbs (action words: hop, crawl, stomp) and pairing them with actions to help them remember the verbs more easily.

4. Wall Push-Ups

This is my personal favourite and one I learned from my colleague who is an Occupational Therapist – sometimes it helps to push on those walls a bit to help us feel like we have enough breathing room. Get your children to lean against the wall with their hands and do some upright push ups or pretend to push the wall outward.

5. I Spy/Scavenger Hunt

Write down a few adjectives (describing words) on pieces of paper, fold them up and put them in a bowl. Get your child to pick a piece of paper from the bowl and find an object around the house that matches the description. ‘Find something that is…round,’ ‘Find something that is… alive,’ ‘Find something that is… shiny.’ This is a great activity to target adjectives, and you can absolutely put in trickier adjectives for the older children, e.g. ‘Find something that is...pliable,’ ‘Find something that is…concealed,’ to help them expand their vocabulary as well.

That’s all for now. I shall stop typing because it’s time for you to get moving!