A moving child is a learning child

First 5 Forever Cloud White

Do you remember as a child spinning round and round until you fell to the ground? Rolling down hills, swinging and hanging upside down on the monkey bars in the playground?  

Little did we know at the time, these fun and often risky activities were laying the foundations for our learning.  

You may be wondering, how? Well, put simply. When your child spins, rolls, jumps or hangs upside down, they’re naturally triggering their understanding of where they are in space: their spatial awareness.  

These (often jaw dropping for adults) activities also build core strength, which helps your child to balance and move smoothly. This is known as the 'Vestibular Sense'. Their bodies naturally seek out these types of movement because it is critical for their development and their ability to work, rest and play. In fact, before a child is even born, they have already started developing a sense of balance through the back and forth rocking movements inside the womb! So clever. 

You may be wondering how you can support this kind of play at home. Find opportunities every day to play with your little ones, and try to spend time outside. Go for a walk, a skip and a jump! If you have a playground nearby, point out all the different things and what you can do with them. Putting words to the things you see helps your child to understand their meaning more easily.  

Find a swing and explore going “higher and higher” or a slide to go “low, low, low”. Using positional words like ‘high’, ‘low’, ‘up’ and ‘down’ helps children relate to where they are in the world around them and understand how objects relate to one another. 15 minutes of swinging alone can both challenge your child’s senses and help them to self-regulate. Outdoor play is also calming for little ones, so spend time talking about what you see, hear and smell. This helps your child to focus on each of their senses and practise using descriptive words.  

With school on the horizon for many, this kind of movement and the amount of time children are given to move and play can directly impact their ability to pay attention in a kindy or classroom environment. This impacts their learning.  

Set your child up for the best learning experience when it’s time to start school by finding opportunities to swing, bounce, roll, sway, skip and spin your way through play! 

First 5 Forever sessions are free at your local library! Join other families and enjoy a fun adventure with your little one.

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