How to focus your child’s energy while maintaining harmony at home

A father bounces his baby.
.

As a result of the corona virus outbreak, schools and daycares across the country have been closed. Parents who are working remotely are struggling to keep their young children healthy and occupied while they balance work like and home life.

Follow these tips from Colorado State University’s Early Childhood Center for some quick and easy, in-home gross motor activities for children and families.

Infants

  • 3-6 months – Place your child on their back and encourage them to roll over by placing toys to their left and right.
  • 6-9 months – If your child is beginning to sit independently, sit facing them and then move back just out of reach so they can practice moving forward with their whole body. 
  • 9-12 months – Face your child, provide a shaker or object that makes sound, put music on and encourage your child to move to the beat and imitate your actions. 
  • 12 – 16 months – This age is one of many natural yoga poses like ‘happy baby’ and “down dog.” You can also use toddler activities to keep them moving in creative ways.

Toddlers

  • Safari – Print animal photos and then hang around the photos around the house. Prompt your toddler to find a photo and act like that animal.
  • Weight play – Challenge your toddler by asking them to carry and move heavy objects. This satisfies deep sensory needs. 
  • You can capitalize on your toddler’s eagerness to imitate and help out by giving them household tasks that require them to move their whole bodies. Your toddler can sweep, wipe surfaces, set the table, feed a pet, and water plants. 
  • The ‘’Running Game” is also a fun game for your toddler. To play this game you have to choose two points, A and B, that your toddler can run between. You can also add a new way to move each time, like taking bigger steps, crawling, or hopping.  

Young preschool 

  • Tape the floor for indoor hopscotch balance challenges.
  • Build with large materials like big cushions and empty cardboard boxes. 
  • Play flashlight tag. Whoever is “it” closes eyes and counts to 10 while others hide. Those hidden are “tagged” when the flashlight beam lands on their face and the person who is “it” calls out their name.  
  • Create a ballet studio by creating hanging LED twinkling lights from tall surfaces. Dim other lights and prompt children to find costumes or fabric to use as they dance. Play music and enjoy “Swan Lake: Home Edition.”

    A young child plays with bubbles.
    Activities like blowing bubbles can be fun for children of all ages.

Older preschool 

  • Mr. Fox – One person is the “fox” and stands turned away from the others who stand 20 feet away. The group says, “Mr. Fox, Mr. Fox, what time is it?” The fox can reply with any time (8 o’clock!) and the group takes that many steps toward the fox. When the fox says, “lunch time!” the group runs away and the fox tries to tag someone to be the next fox. 
  • Party Freeze Dance 
  • Go Noodle – Run the Red Carpet 
  • Snowball Fight – use balled up newspaper or catalog pages as snowballs.

All ages

  • Watch a “Cosmic Kids” yoga video together. 
  • Brain Dance – full body and brain warm up for children and adults. 
  • Obstacle Course – use household objects for children to climb over, under, and through. 
  • Scavenger Hunt Walk Pillow Fort using cushions, pillows, blankets, and sheets. Children can help build and will enjoy playing in a new space. 
  • #PlayAtHome with Playworks  

Songs that encourage movement:

Rocket Ship Run

Shake My Sillies Out

The Goldfish Song

We are the Dinosaurs

The Early Childhood Center is in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies, part of CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.