Our bodies need exercise, but they need downtime, too. Breathing, balancing, and bending give children (and adults!) a chance to rest their bodies and relax their minds.
Breathing deeply and slowly is a calming strategy for anytime, anywhere.
- Ask children to place their hands over their mouths and feel their breath. Together, breathe quickly, then slowly, and ask children to compare how each breath feels in their hands.
- Then ask children to pretend their bellies are balloons. Encourage them to take long and deep breaths to fill the balloons with air, then breathe out through their mouths to let the air out.
Balancing helps kids focus and relax while building strength and coordination.
- Lay down a piece of string or tape on the ground for a “balance beam”! You can make the beam wide for an easier version of the game and narrower for a challenge.
- Use your imagination. For instance, you might pretend that the beam is high up in the air or over a rocky river—be careful not to fall!
Bending and stretching helps children become more flexible…and it feels great!
- Ask kids to bend and stretch their whole bodies—from their head to their toes.
- Give clear directions, starting with the head. (Nod it “yes” and shake it “no.” Next, roll the shoulders, twist the stomach, bend at the hips, and so on.) Get creative, and do more of the things that feel good!