Wherever you are, if you’ve got kids, the school situation is probably not ideal right now. Even though we’ve always homeschooled (this will be our third official year), we normally have playdates and co-ops and museum visits and zoo days—doing school exclusively at home with little access to these things is tough! That said, we’ve learned a few things over the years that have helped all of us thrive with home-based schooling. I wanted to share a few of them over the next few weeks—I hope they can help you get your school year off to a happy start!
Gross Motor Movement for Brain Building
My first tip: incorporate gross motor activities as much as possible! Whole-body movements (especially movement that crosses the midline of the body) is a huge brain builder.
One of the advantages of learning at home is that kids don’t have to sit still—Graham likes to jump around and climb while I ask him math questions, Margie practices phonics while making the letters with her body, and both kids keep their hands busy with LEGO or playdough or Magnatiles while I’m reading aloud to them. As a parent it can be a bit distracting. But for kids, movement is a vital tool for memory and cross-subject connection.
A few ideas for gross-motor play . . .
Gross-motor play equipment can be big. We were gifted this rocker from Wiwiurka Toys and it took up a good bit of space in our 900 sq ft apartment. BUT it can be used for so many things. A climber, a slide, a boat, a rocker, a reading nook, a seesaw, a pretend store, a fort, a tunnel—you get the idea.
We’ve found that in a small space, having one large item that encourages open-ended play and big body movements can replace loads of smaller toys and bring huge benefits. It’s a perfect piece of indoor play equipment for the kids to use during our school lessons and all the hours in between. If you’re able to invest in something like this, awesome! We love this rocker and the quality is amazing. But gross-motor movement can also be as simple as jumping on the bed or moving your lessons to the backyard. The key is to work *with* your kid to find activities they can do that will engage their body while you’re molding their minds 😉.
If you’re looking to buy something to help incorporate gross motor movement, here are a few ideas!
Nugget Comfort Couch: For building forts, slides, lounge spaces, and anything your imagination can come up with!
Pikler Triangle: I think these kinds of climbing furniture are best suited to smaller kids, but if you have a toddler, these are amazing! (And could keep little climbers busy while you’re schooling bigger kids.)
Compression Sensory Swing: If you have a sensory-seeking kid, a swing like this that gives them full-body compression, like a big, soothing hug. Any kid will love having a swing inside, though :).
Swurfer Swing: Indoors or out, a swing like this inspires big body movements in a wide range of ages.
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