Friday, May 2, 2008
Tunnels and Balls: Motor Development and Counting
We have endless fun working on coordination, motor skills, and counting using tunnels and balls. This has been a great way to burn energy on a cold or rainy inside-day. We have several variations on the same theme. Here is the gist - I lay out a tunnel placing 2 rows of blocks side-by-side. As I put them in place, I count 1,2-3,4-5,6-etc. Then we gather a ball or 2 (or 3) and roll it through the tunnel back and forth. Then we kick it through the tunnel, throw it through the tunnel, run with it through the tunnel, jump with it through the tunnel, etc.
One of the neat things about working with my daughter at this age is that she naturally takes the role of a co-creator with regard to our activity as her attention wanes every few minutes. Today, while we were playing this game, we ended up doing these other things as well as we sort of naturally flowed with her attention and interest:
1. I placed empty plastic water bottles at the end of the tunnel and used them like bowling pins. We would kick, throw, and roll the ball through the tunnel to knock them over. It took a little while for her to get the gist of this - at first she just carried the ball over to the "pins" and knocked them down directly. But as she watched me she figured out my suggestion and ended up getting into it. I was super impressed, too, as I watched her develop from knocking down the pins directly to kicking one ball to knock down one pin and then another ball to knock down the pin beside it!
2. We moved the rows of blocks together so that they formed a balance-beam-like row. I walked along it, and she thought that looked like fun, and so she walked along it, too. Obviously, I held her hand because the "beam" was unsteady and I didn't want her to sprain her ankle or something. But she did really well with it and walked the beam over and over and over...
3. She got out a flash light, and so we turned it on, shined it on the floor, and the light on the floor became the "ball!" I moved the light down the (reconstructed) tunnel to the water bottles and shook the light over the bottles like I was knocking them down. She thought this was hilarious. The I had her "kick" the light and we did the same thing, "knocking down" the bottles.
She also dressed up the ball (and then later the light on the floor) with her hair band, moved the blocks around some, and practiced attempting to sit her doll upon one of the tall, skinny blocks standing upright (that one didn't quite work). The whole thing was tons of fun.