Skills: Children will have fun outdoors while developing gross-motor skills.
- Various brightly colored crepe paper streamers
In Advance: Examine your outdoor play area and make a mental note of landmarks such as trees, the end of a sidewalk, a large bush-anything that can serve as a marker for a running path. Make sure that there are no sharp edges or items children might run into.
Choose a sunny, warm day and get ready to go outside together. As you help children with their jackets, talk about what it feels like to run, which animals move fast, why people run. You might ask: "Do you ever run? When you run, how does the wind feel on your face?"
- Take your group outside and gather together at a short distance from one of the markers you spotted earlier.
- Explain that you are going to make a running path together. Say, "Let's mark our path with these streamers. Come help me tie these markers on."
- Together, walk around and tie a different color streamer onto each of the markers you've chosen. Then, step back and say, "Hey, let's all run over to that tree with the blue streamer. Come on and run with me!"
- Let your enthusiasm and delight fill the mood of the activity as you encourage children to participate. Catch your breath and call out, "Come on, let's run to the yellow streamer!"
- Later, hand out streamers for children to carry as they run. Partners can share ends, and you can call out various ways to move-with leaps, twirling, taking big jumps, and the like.
For younger children: Be sure markers are not too far apart so that children don't have long distances to run.
For older children: Use numerals as markers on those locations children will run to. Call out the numbers children need to move to as they run around the play space.
Observations: Which children run about without attending to the markers on designated areas? Which children listen closely to direction and move directly to those specified destinations?
Remember: When doing gross-motor activities with young children: Half the fun is laughing and being silly together. In no way is this a race or a contest to see who can go the farthest or fastest. Children will vary in their abilities. Help everyone feel good about what they are able to do.
Provide streamers and dress-up clothes from your dramatic-play area. Go outdoors, have children dress up and carry streamers, place some lively music on the CD/cassette player, and invite children to move about the space in their own creative ways.
Eyes, Nose, Fingers and Toes: A First Book All About You by Judy Hindley
The Foot Book by Dr. Seuss
The Pumpkin Runner by Marsha Diane Arnold