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Jul17

Games to Learn through Movement

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Photo: I. Alix

Today we are going to present you with some easy games to do in the summer that will help review and integrate learning for little ones.

From evolutionary psychology and learning, we know that the first place where we begin to learn and experiment is the body. It becomes our central reference point until through which we receive all the exterior perceptions and feelings from the outside. If we also use movement, we will obtain more information about our environment whenever we do anything.

If we repeat this process enough, we learn and acquire dexterity. If we also have fun doing it, learning is consolidated more quickly and in a more enjoyable way. That is to say that playing, experimenting, moving and repeating are crucial.

Beginning with moving our bodies in space, to being able to move our hands over paper, it is a gradual integration process that is adapted to the evolutionary characteristics of each child. In fact, if we do not internalize the first part, we could have difficulties with the second.

That is why I find the following games very interesting:

Whole body games: gross motor skills

Learning geometry by jumping and stimulating our spatial thinking.

For games with geometric figures, it is important to know the sequence in which the first figures are learned. Horizontal lines, vertical lines, and circles are the first. Then, the cross and the square. Later, the triangle, the X, and the rhombus. Finally, complex or mixed figures.

  • Mazes: they are very interesting to improve reasoning and problem-solving skills.
  • The power of the circle: it is a common way in many cultures to have meetings and express ideas. It is widely used in art, specifically land art, and I encourage you to research the beautiful possibilities in nature. (see Richard Long or Andy Goldsworthy)
  • Human Knot: by playing with our whole body we maintain and improve our balance and visual discrimination.
  • Geometric figures on the floor. Using different colors of chalk, draw many figures on the floor in no particular order. You have to jump from one figure to another, following the instructions of an adult and, without falling, make it to the other side.
  • Hopscotch. Invent your own version. You can use geometric figures, letters, and numbers, single or double boxed…
Sensory games: mental representations through touch

With these games, we are going to improve the internal visualization of what we feel and, consequently, the mental map of our bodies.

  • Drawing on skin: the game where you draw geometric figures on their back, hand, or leg without them looking. With closed eyes, I can stimulate and experience the visualization of external stimuli and abstract shapes through proprioceptive feelings of the body.
  • Feeling letters: make letters out of clay, pieces of bread, or sponges. Have little ones touch them and feel their borders until they understand that something which is normally 2 dimensional is 3 dimensional, and therefore enriching their perception. Drawing letters in the sand or making stamps with ink out of the little sponge letters are fun activities for younger ones.
Manipulative games: fine motor skills

  • Finger mazes: Propose mazes of different levels of difficulty and solve them on a sandy surface with flour or gel.
  • Tangrams: Arrange geometric figures in an adequate way to form shapes and drawings.
  • Mandalas: Using a circle as a base they can create beautiful compositions. They can do these with colorful chalk, fingerpaint, candy wrappers, etc.
  • Geometry with elastics, ropes, and popsicle sticks.

I hope that you enjoy these fun games for the whole family.

At Smartick we know the importance of combining online mathematics games with manipulative activities, but we know the most important thing is to make learning fun.

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