Something that is always important to remember is that children of this age can’t sit for extended periods of time, especially during play. Encourage your child to play standing up positioned at a table that is their level, allowing them this freedom in movement will help them develop bodily awareness. Some activities that go well with this would be play dough, puzzles, coloring, painting and pretend play like a tea party.
Sensory tables are amazing, if you haven’t used them yet with your tot I strongly suggest you try! They will gain so much from this. If you don’t have a ‘sensory’ table you can use a large dish/ tray on a table at their level and fill it with sand, pasta, flowers (real and fake), water, bubbles, rocks, dirt, snow etc. Place life like items inside as well, if you have sand you could use beach tools, measuring cups/ spoons, funnels, dolls, insects…the same goes with dirt! Place insects, fake flowers, watering cans, garden gloves, and garden tools (plastic). Let them discover how to use these items on their own, but still make sure you encourage the activity! Play music, anything at all! We play such a wild variety of music from baby Einstein and Enya to the Grateful Dead and The Beatles! It doesn’t matter what it is, but music is another tool that works wonders in promoting kinesthetic awareness.
Sometimes it’s hard for parents/ teachers to remember that we are only here to encourage these milestones not complete them for the child. Every act your child does is filled with wonder and amazement, so enjoy observing these moments.
Another bit of knowledge that I like to share with others is the fact that until the age of 10 your child’s brain is going 2.5 times faster than an adults! That is so much brain activity! so when they can’t seem to pay attention or listen; cut them some slack instead of saying look at me and hello!?, allow them the time to observe, discover and touch things they haven’t seen yet. Sometimes even if something old is in a different place, they need to see it there as well. This act is showing amazing brain development, they are trying to understand how this object moved from here to there! Cognition is fascinating!
Most children cannot focus when there is something of interest in their surroundings, children are natural explorers. Don’t expect a child of this age to sit for 20 min with you through and activity, but do continue reading them a story if they get up and walk around. You want to encourage Gross motor and fine motor development at all times, so allowing them to get up and sit down throughout reading is a great exercise for them. Play exercises like head, shoulders, knees and toes with them! Identify each body part as many times as it takes for them to be able to recognize them on their own. Bringing your children into your yoga practice is always a wonderful way to help them gain kinesthetic awarenss as well!
Remember that if something isn’t going as planned, every day is a new day to start over
Don’t sweat the small stuff, enjoy your children while they are young!