Friday, July 22, 2022

Flying Saucers

 It's summertime so let us talk about one of my FAVORITE games that is a quick set up and quick implementation. I call it flying saucers and it works cross age groups and can be adapted easily to give a challenge if needed.  

1) Each athlete gets a frisbee (on a cheap budget? Grab some paper plates instead)

2) Place the frisbee upside down on one hand

3) Keep your frisbee while trying to knock over everyone else's frisbees

4) Once out, they can do 10 jumping jacks and hop back in

END when they start to get tired! 

But for real, super easy! You can easily adapt it to make it more challenging if you need. Instead of just running to knock over, you can make them crawl, jump, skip, hop, etc. Instead of flying saucers, you can change them to fit whatever your theme is too.  Happy playing and good luck!

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

10 Reasons Why Your Preschooler Should Do Gymnastics

1) Gymnastics promotes playground readiness in a safe environment. As a preschool mom myself, the ability to trust that my kiddo can climb (and/or fall off safely) the play structure with confidence without me having to be there every step of the way. Gymnastics teaches those fundamental coordination and strength skills to get them ready to play! And as a bonus, my kiddo also has the CONFIDENCE to do those things independently because she has practiced in the safe gymnastics setting.

2) Your preschooler learns focus! Trying to get from one end of a beam to the other without falling off requires focus. Learning to remember stations requires focus. Staying and working on the same thing for more than one turn requires focus. Making even one correction requires focus.

3) Gymnastics leads to reading readiness. Anytime you’re teaching eye tracking skills, it helps develop the skills required to lead to reading!

Crawling, hanging on a bar and scooting your hands, tossing and catching a scarf… even the many many drills your preschool coaches set up where a preschooler is in support on their hands and watching what their hands are doing, all lead to reading readiness.

4) Preschoolers get to learn from someone other than family!
I can't count the number of times I have mentioned to a preschooler to get their shoes on, or make their bed when they get home, or help mom fold laundry, and because I am the gymnastics coach, the kid follows through in a way that they may not normally with their family. I mean, even two weeks ago an adult figure in my kid's life suggested that she do her own laundry for mother's day and what a gift that was to me! It takes a village and a gymnastics class can help provide another adult figure at a young age to your child's life.
In addition, it starts to get them ready to learn from an authority figure in a more classroom setting. It can help prepare their minds for their future learning environments of school. Learning to listen to instructions, follow the leader, receive corrections and compliments all can be learned in a gymnastics class.

5) Preschool gymnastics helps provide social readiness. So often, lesson plans require teamwork, partner stations, taking turns, etc. that help teach those necessary social skills for kindergarten. Kids learn conflict resolution, kindness, patience and more through preschool gymnastics programs. WHICH IS ESSENTIAL IN THIS COVID WORLD. These kids need the interactions, the time with peers and the instruction from an outside adult to help prepare them for life.

6) Gymnastics teaches resilience. Kids will fall. Kids will not be able to do the station on their first try. They will learn to get back up, to try again, and to ask for help. It teaches a tenacity and grit in a relatively safe setting where they CAN fail.
I mean, the movie Stick It says it best:
"Gymnastics tells you 'no' all day long. It mocks you over and over again, telling you that you're an idiot. That you're crazy... If you like falling, then gymnastics is the sport for you! You get to fall on your face, your butt, your back, your knees and your pride! Good thing I didn't like falling. I *loved* it".

7) Preschool gymnastics leads to sports readiness. Footwork, Hand eye coordination, flexibility, strength and conditioning, etc. all lead to eventual sport prowess. I had teammates to go on to compete gymnastics, but also pole vault, diving, soccer, crossfit, kickline and more in college. It lays a foundation for sport movement that provides them the opportunity to excel down the line.
What are some sports that you have seen gymnastics lay a foundation for?

8) Gymnastics enhances proprioception, sometimes referred to as the 6th sense. Athletes are able to more fully develop a sense of where their body is and how their body is in relation to things around it.
Got a kip tripping all over the place? Put them in gymnastics. Got a kid who confuses left and right? Put them in gymnastics. Got a kid who has trouble skipping/jumping rope? Put them in gymnastics. Even if it's due to developmental delays, gymnastics acts hand in hand with occupational therapy to help develop proprioception (Fun fact! Several of my former teammates have gone on to study and become occupational therapists themselves).

9) Preschool Gymnastics creates health readiness. What do I mean by that? It creates a love for being active, for exercising, for setting goals and striving to achieve them. The foundation that gymnastics builds helps to create more healthy kids and adults!

10) Last one and best one. GYMNASTICS IS FUN!!! Preschoolers love to make new friends, see the colorful set ups and move their whole bodies in the gym. Playing games, accomplishing new skills, learning and so much more lead preschoolers to ask each morning..."Is it gymnastics day?"