Category Archives: family fitness

Beach Ball Obstacle Course - directions for preschoolers, plus variations for older kids {undergodsmightyhand.com}

Beach Ball Obstacle Course

We recently completed a beach/ocean preschool unit. While we can’t often visit a beach, we can play with a beach ball anywhere and in a variety of ways!

In the coming weeks, I’ll share a post with numerous ways to use a beach ball in active games and learning activities.

Today, I’ll show you the Beach Ball Obstacle Course we played.

Beach Ball Obstacle Course - directions for preschoolers, plus variations for older kids {undergodsmightyhand.com}

Obstacle Course Setup

I’m a fan of using whatever we’ve got in the house rather than always buying more. My main goals for this obstacle course were:

  • to have my preschoolers follow varied and sequenced directions.
  • to practice multiple directional words (over, in between, around).
  • to practice coordination and gross motor skills through using various body parts to move the beach ball.

Knowing these goals, I picked a few objects around the house conducive to creating such a course.

Beach Ball Obstacle Course setup {undergodsmightyhand.com}

We set up two baseball bats to create parallel lines to move the ball in between, a fabric Frisbee to roll the ball over, and a tower of blocks to roll the ball around.

I set up the course with about 3 feet in between each object. You can place a starting line on your floor with painter’s tape or another object.

Preschool Beach Ball Obstacle Course

Standing at the starting line with the ball, I first asked my kids to roll the ball in between the bats, over the Frisbee, and around the tower, then come back over the Frisbee and in between the bats. I did not give any other directions. This allowed them to decide how they wanted to roll the ball.

After we each had a turn, I asked them to move the ball with their knees. (I demonstrated this one first.) More variations of movements: use only fingertips, use elbows, use chin, tap with the tops of feet, etc.

Beach Ball Obstacle Course {undergodsmightyhand.com}

Other variations:

  • For older kids (around kindergarten and up), you can give directions to move to the right or to the left of an object. Also try to incorporate under and through.
  • You can limit the amount of touches on the ball. (Example: Roll the ball around the tower with only four touches.)
  • You can alter your child’s foot movement (hop, lunge, tiptoe, etc.).
  • You can lengthen the obstacle course to include 5 or more obstacles.
  • You can write letters on the ball and ask your child to only touch the vowelsor consonants, etc. Or you can write numbers on the ball and ask your child to only touch even numbers or odd numbers or multiples of 3, etc.

This game is such a simple one to set up, fun to play, and incorporates vocabulary, awareness, movement control, gross motor practice, and taking turns.

How does your family play with a beach ball?

This post is also linked up with Homeschool Creation’s Preschool and Kindergarten CornerTuesday TotsToddler and Preschool Moms Pinning Party, the Weekly Kids Co-opShow and Share SaturdayFree Homeschool Deals’ Ultimate Pinterest Party, and Link & Learn.

The Weekly Kids Co-Op

I Can Teach My Child's Show and Share Saturday link-up

Disclosure: I am an affiliate for Signing Time. If you click on a Signing Time link and then make a purchase, I receive a small commission. This does not affect your final cost at all. Thank you for supporting this blog and my family!

Shop Signing Time

BundleoftheWeek.com, 5 eBooks for $7.40!

comparing-nutrition-labels post image

Learning Nutrition Label Comparison

Your kids come running in after enjoying some nature study time outside, and they’re ready for a snack.

You offer oranges or carrot sticks.

One child pipes up saying he wants cookies!

How do you help them really understand what healthy food options are and why we should eat healthy most of the time? Learning Nutrition Labels

Join me over at The Homeschool Scientist today with a (free printable!) nutrition label comparison activity, plus an active game you can play with those labels.

These activities foster thinking about:

  • What’s in nutrition labels?
  • Why is this information important?
  • What do you do with that information?
  • How do nutrition labels help you and your kids make healthier choices?

Let me know how your family reads nutrition labels over at The Homeschool Scientist!

This post is also linked up with Homeschool Creation’s Preschool and Kindergarten CornerTuesday TotsToddler and Preschool Moms Pinning Party, the Weekly Kids Co-opShow and Share SaturdayFree Homeschool Deals’ Ultimate Pinterest Party, and Link & Learn.

The Weekly Kids Co-Op

I Can Teach My Child's Show and Share Saturday link-up

Disclosure: I am an affiliate for Signing Time. If you click on a Signing Time link and then make a purchase, I receive a small commission. This does not affect your final cost at all. Thank you for supporting this blog and my family!

Shop Signing Time

BundleoftheWeek.com, 5 eBooks for $7.40!

20 Outdoor and Indoor Family Fitness Ideas for Spring at SimpleKids

Spring Family Fitness Ideas

Spring brings beautiful and somewhat moody weather. One day is 70 degrees and sunny, the next day 40 degrees and rainy, another day is 90 degrees and sweltering (and for some, a recent day here in May brought snow!). So when the troops need exercise, you need an arsenal of indoor and outdoor ideas.

20 Outdoor and Indoor Family Fitness Ideas for Spring at SimpleKidsJoin me over at Simple Kids today for 20 outdoor and indoor family fitness ideas for spring. You’ll find ideas and resources for activities that use around-the-house equipment and some just need a little space and energy.

Also, can I just say? I’ve read the Simple Living Media blogs for a couple of years now (The Art of Simple (formerly Simple Mom), Simple Kids, Simple Homeschool, and more). I’m extremely honored to be guest posting at Simple Kids for Kara today. (Thanks, Kara, for the fun opportunity!)

Share your favorite family fitness ideas with me over at Simple Kids today!

Discerning Nutrition Advertisements {plus, a project idea!}

Understanding Nutrition Advertising + a Project Idea

Discerning Nutrition Advertisements {plus, a project idea!}Whether we make the choices regularly or not, we all know we need to eat healthfully. Our kids usually learn early on some of what’s healthy or not from adults’ reactions around them.

But, in this media-infused age, we are often bombarded with advertisements of all kinds. How can we help our children pick out what’s true within a nutrition advertisement and make healthy choices?

Check out my guest post over at The Homeschool Scientist for questions to ask when examining nutrition advertisements, plus a project idea to expand your kids’ use of advertisement and nutrition awareness.

How do you help your kids discern truth in advertisements, particularly in health? Share your ideas in the comments at The Homeschool Scientist!

Move Like You Feel - active emotions movement game for preschoolers {undergodsmightyhand.com}

“Move Like You Feel” Active Movement Game for Preschoolers

I have a family fitness background and I have a son who is a major sensory seeker. Any time we can add movement into a learning activity, we do!

We’re wrapped up a preschool feelings unit this week (watch for that post next week!), and I created this simple movement mimicking activity to accompany our emotions-themed activities this week.

Move Like You Feel - active emotions movement game for preschoolers {undergodsmightyhand.com}

“Move Like You Feel” Movement Game

This activity allowed my son to differentiate his movements to pretend acting out these emotions. My son has multiple special needs, and, though he can distinguish many emotions, he can’t really copy them himself unless he’s actually feeling them.

To help him be able to model different emotions, we used this game to incorporate big motor movements he could associate with each feeling.

How to Play

Just have enough space to move a bit. Classroom teachers can use this activity with a little space in between desks, in a reading around, or outside.

Optional: You can also have a photo-filled feelings book in hand to help, like Lots of Feelings by Shelley Rotner.

The first round, I talked the kids through each emotion and modeled how we can move to act out that emotion. In the second and third rounds, I suggest trying to see if the kids remember each movement when you call out each emotion. Play 3-5 rounds for a total of roughly 10 minutes (just enough to get some wiggles out and get hearts pumping!).

Modification: If you’re using this activity with advanced preschoolers or early elementary ages, you can ask the kids to create their own movements!

Emotion Movements

Move Like You Feel - active emotions movement game for preschoolers {undergodsmightyhand.com}

“Sad” – moving low and slow

Here are the movements and emotions we used:

  • Happy – move bouncy and smiling, with a march
  • Sad – move low and slow
  • Excited – jump!
  • Frustrated – move tight and stomping
  • Tired – crawl on hands and knees
  • Nervous – move on tiptoes very cautiously
  • Silly – silly dancing!
Move Like You Feel - active emotions movement game for preschoolers {undergodsmightyhand.com}

“Frustrated” – stomping

Move Like You Feel - active emotions movement game for preschoolers {undergodsmightyhand.com}

“Tired” – crawling on hands and knees slowly

We completed each movement for 30-60 seconds. We stopped at just these seven emotions for our first go-round. I hope to add a few more about my son is able to express when he feels these seven emotions with more frequency.

Modification for special needs: We signed each emotion first. I also suggest either showing a picture of each emotion or having a chart of emotions and first asking the kids to point out which emotion you call out. Then complete the movement.

Since playing this game, my son has already expressed “tired” and “happy” (yay!) and my daughter has talked about “nervous.” We might need to play this game once a week or so!

I shared our whole preschool feelings unit here, including the books and activities we used.

Feelings and Emotions Unit for Preschool - including activities, book recommendations, and resources! {undergodsmightyhand.com}

If you’re looking for a song about emotions, we love the “feelings song” from this episode of Signing Time. It’s good for dancing, too!

How do you help your kids learn to express different emotions?

This post is also linked up with Homeschool Creation’s Preschool and Kindergarten CornerTuesday TotsToddler and Preschool Moms Pinning Party, the Weekly Kids Co-opShow and Share SaturdayFree Homeschool Deals’ Ultimate Pinterest Party, and Link & Learn.

The Weekly Kids Co-Op

I Can Teach My Child's Show and Share Saturday link-up

Disclosure: I am an affiliate for Signing Time. If you link on a Signing Time link and then make a purchase, I receive a small commission. This does not affect your final cost at all. Thank you for supporting this blog and my family!