Got an active toddler? We talk to the experts at the Australian International School about great indoor activities and exercises to boost your little one’s brain power!
We all know toddlers need little help staying active and moving around (in fact mamas probably need more help keeping up with them!). But did you know there’s a dedicated physical education programme that can help ensure young children reach developmental milestones? It’s called the SMART Steps Perceptual Motor Programme, and it’s super fun for kids. They have such a blast with its range of music, fitness, dance, gymnastics and sensory activities that they don’t even realise they’re developing perception, spatial awareness and problem solving skills.
So how to get your munchkin in on this action, mama? It just so happens Australian International School (AIS) will be commencing the programme this January. AIS looks to be the place for budding sports superstars: they’ve just announced the development of an amazing new dedicated Early Years campus opening in 2017 for children aged 18 months to 6 years (a first for an international school in Singapore!). With a dedicated gymnasium, expansive outdoor play areas and a 22m swimming pool just for little ones, the AIS Early Years Campus is sure to meet your budding athlete’s boundless energy needs. For a sneak peek at all the amazingness, you will definitely want to check out this preview video, mama:
But you don’t need to wait til 2017 — you can try out some key SMART Steps exercises right at home (heaven knows we need some good indoor activities what with the never ending haze!).
All you need is some space and several mini bean bags, as recommended by Justin Teves, Head of Sport at AIS (Click here for instructions on how to make a mini bean bag)!
- Balancing Beanies: Place a beanbag on your child’s head as they walk along a length of rope, a wall or along a line marked out on the ground. To make it more challenging, ask your child to walk around obstacles like chairs without dropping the bean bag.
Why we love this game: Developing balancing skills is fundamental to maintaining body position control and performing a host of daily activities and focus in the classroom.
- Caterpillar Pass-and-Go: With a group of friends, stand in a line with one person behind the other. Place a pile of beanbags in the front of the line and a bucket at the back. The person in the front grabs a bean bag and passes it overhead to the child behind, who passes it to the next child, and so on, until the last child pops it in the bucket.
Why we love this game: Caterpillar Pass-and-Go will develop your child’s hand-eye coordination by training them to accurately receive and pass the bean bag. Hand-eye coordination is a vital skill for handwriting, as the eyes need to guide the hand in forming letters accurately.
- Toss It Here and There: Improve your child’s catching, throwing and estimation skills by having them throw bean bags to and from you at different lengths. Your child will learn to throw gently at closer distances, while using more strength to throw further distances.
Why we love this game: Toss It Here and There improves your child’s bilateral coordination by getting them to use both hands simultaneously. This is an indication that both sides of the brain are communicating with each other, which is important for accomplishing many activities such as walking, climbing stairs and playing musical instruments.
- Endurance Relay: Clear the room and place a pile of bean bags at one end of the room and a bucket at the other. Have your child hop, run, jump, crawl, skip or crab-walk to take the bean bags, one at a time, to the bucket. Challenge your child to beat their own personal time on each relay.
Why we love this game: This game builds your child’s stamina and physical endurance, and develops their problem solving skills as they must be creative when carrying the bean bags (e.g. putting the bean bag on the tummy when crab-walking, on the back when crawling, etc.).
Other exciting new specialist curriculum areas starting this January at AIS include a new Speech and Drama Programme based on the curriculum and examinations of the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts (LAMDA), weekly Violin instruction and the Accelerated Literacy Programme, which promotes the advance of English reading, writing, listening and speaking (gotta balance out all that sport with some culture, of course!).
To find out more about AIS’ new curriculum launching this January and the new Early Years Centre of Excellence opening in 2017, visit AIS for its next Open House on October 7th. Can’t make that date? Call +65 6653 7906 or click here to book a personal tour.
Australian International School Pte Ltd is registered by the Council for Private Education. CPE Registration Number 199204405H. Period of Registration 6 July 2015 to 5 July 2019.
Australian International School, 1 Lorong Chuan Singapore 556818, Tel: (+65) 6883 5155, www.ais.com.sg