written by: R. Elizabeth C. Kitchen
• edited by: Jacqueline Chinappi
• updated: 3/2/2012
It is important to get children interested in physical activity from a young age. This article will provide three different preschool lessons on physical activity that are sure to engage all children.
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This physical activity can be used as part of a gymnastics lesson or as a part of any physical activity lesson for preschoolers. The main objective of this physical activity is to teach children about transferring weight.
Teachers will need a foam incline wedge mat. The ideal size is thirty inches in length with two inches at the bottom. This mat should be ten inches at the top. It is also important to have some floor mats on the ground so that the children have a soft surface to roll onto.
Using the mat will make is easier for children to learn how to perform a forward roll. The wedge gives them a little help because it can be difficult for them to perform a forward roll on a flat surface. Place the flat floor mats down on the area in which the children will be rolling and then place the wedge against the edge of a wooden box. The child will stand on top of the box and face the wedges incline. Their hands should be on the wedge, just two to three inches from their feet. They should bend their knees slightly, push their chin down to their chest, point their fingers forward, and raise their bottom in the air. Once they are in position, they should push-off with their feet.
The teacher will help to make sure the child is in the proper position and will help to ensure that all children perform the forward roll safely. To ensure that the child's head is properly tucked, the teacher should place their hand on the back of the child's head. They should gently and carefully move their child's chin toward their chest. They will use their other hand to gently and carefully nudge the child's bottom to help them start the forward roll. It is important for the teacher to make sure that the child does not roll onto their head, but onto their back and shoulders.
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Throwing is a preschool lesson on physical activity that will teach children how to throw a ball overhand. Children will learn how to place their feet and will learn how to throw at a target. They will learn to step with opposite foot and will go learn how to complete the entire throwing motion range.
Each child will need their own ball or beanbag. Koosh balls and yarn balls are good choices because they are soft and will not hurt if a child accidentally hits another child with one. The chosen ball or beanbag should fit well in the child's hand. If a ball or beanbag is too big or too small, it will not work well for this activity.
This activity should be done in an area with a lot of space, such as a gym or a schoolyard. There should be no obstacles in the child's way. The child should be instructed to “bend their elbow up, hold the ball/beanbag behind their head, take a step forward with the foot opposite of the hand holding the ball/beanbag, and then throw the beanbag/ball as hard as they can". The child should throw the ball/beanbag at the wall if they are in a gym. If they are outside, they do not have to throw at anything. If outside, the teacher can set up some cones for the children to aim for. If the children are having difficulty stepping forward with their opposite foot, the teacher can draw a chalk line on the ground and have the children step over that line when they throw to help them get used to stepping forward.
The teacher should ensure all children are using the proper throwing technique. Since it can be difficult for preschool children to aim, it can be a good idea to not use any targets at first. The targets can be added later, once the children better develop their throwing skills. When first teaching preschool children to throw, it is a good idea to also demonstrate the technique several times because young children often learn by watching others.
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Kicking is a skill all children need to learn. This preschool lesson on physical activity will teach children how to kick a ball and it will also teach them proper kicking technique. Children will learn the kicking motion, how to go through the entire kicking range of motion, and how to kick a ball as far as they can.
To teach this physical activity lesson, teachers will need a rubber playground ball that is ten inches in diameter. A soft-covered soccer ball or a foam ball can work as well as a substitute, but the rubber ball works best. A regulation soccer ball should not be used because when the children kick it, it could hurt their foot. A grassy, large area is the best place to provide this preschool physical activity lesson.
During the first activity, the children should be only trying to kick the ball as far as they can. They should be told to take one step back and then try to kick the ball as hard as they possibly can. As the children get better at kicking the ball, the teacher can set up cones at several different distances so that the children can see how far they can kick it. When teachers first start using cones, they should place them approximately ten to twelve yards away from where the child is kicking from. As the children improve their kicking skills, the teacher should have them continuously kick the ball as they travel throughout the grassy area.
The teacher should first begin by demonstrating the proper kicking technique. They should show the children how to take a step back prior to kicking the ball. The teacher should also help all children figure out which leg to kick with because not all children will be able to kick their best with the same leg. Once all of the children are confident in their kicking technique and kicking abilities, the teacher should further this lesson by having each child kick the ball as far as they can and then run up to where the ball lands and kick it again. This also brings some cardiovascular exercise into this preschool lesson on physical activity.