April 9, 2018

Game Sense in Under 5’s!

Let the games begin!

After some great teamwork to create fireworks around the parachute for our Jnr Comm Games Opening Ceremony, Delta’s Jnr Gym Games have begun!  We are getting into the Comm Games spirit with our under 5’s with this fun, timely theme as our littlest gymnasts explore different sports events in the gym.

 

With our forward roll dive, we are racing the swim event, with scooter board freestyle to the finish line, working on our back & shoulder strength.

In track and field we are high jumping over noodles, and working on whole body coordination as we long jump & hurdle!

And we have been building our leg strength squats with our wobble weight lighting!  What amazing development for little bodies!

However – back to the fireworks for a moment…

Parachute play is just one of the ways we build the team idea of working together.  This  is a vital element for children feeling confident to join in active games later on, whether it be on the sports field or in the playground making friends.

Playing games is child’s play… or is it ???

At Jnr Gym Kids we work on game sense in many layers, building little by little.  We all want our children to continue active healthy lives and be able to join in games with their peers. However, ‘joining in’ successfully involves so many pieces of a child’s developmental puzzle coming together.

Games sense needs physical, cognitive, social and emotional skills, all of which develop at their own rate through the support of rich play filled movement experiences in preschool years.

Physical Development

At gymnastics we are constantly working on basic strength (core, upper and lower body), agility, flexibility, coordination and spatial awareness .  All of these are vital for children to be able to control their bodies first before putting a bat, ball or goal in the mix.

Cognitive Development

Understanding basic rules of the game begins with simple playful games and joining in during group time.

At Jnr Gym Kids we explore where and when to start, standing on your marker, taking turns, learning how to stop, where & how to line up.

We explore sequencing activities, watching, understanding and remembering what to do. We learn to name and describe our body movements, shapes & skills in words which support more formal thinking.

We think about how to adjust our bodies to make it ‘work better’, landing, balancing or throwing.

Social/Emotional Development

Feeling confident is one of the key areas we hope to develop in children and is a powerful motivator for children to join in a game or activity.  Self-efficacy is a belief in being able to have a go and trusting in their physical abilities. Many of the fears or hesitancy can come from a lack of confidence to begin.

As children build on their success, confidence grows! Like anything, success comes from sticking with it  or staying in the game and that needs some resilience. This is something we learn in spades at Jnr Gym Kids.  Wobbling, falling and trying again and again; having lots of turns and practices before finally nailing that cartwheel… As a coach there is nothing better than sharing those moments, when beaming faces suddenly realise ‘I did it!’

The other major ‘skill’ to be able to ‘play in the game together’ is emotional regulation. Emotional regulation is a little more than simply self-control, as it involves lots of practice processing sensory input and staying alert while managing neuro-chemistry (which is full of pumping cortisol and adrenaline while moving in fun excited ways).

That is why at gymnastics we provide so many ways for children to practice their ..GO!… & STOP!

We practice it in layers.  For example in our recent Aussie Animal theme we had fun with our Echindna Relays.  We built on the children’s control with our line up > ready> go!  Children had to remember a series of instructions and return ready to go again.

Again in our Easter rabbit game, we added the excitement of controlling and stopping, when our Easter Bunny woke up and peaked (during our ever favourite Easter theme)!

All of these elements take time and practice and at Jnr Gym Kids we not only hide it in lots of fun and purposeful play, but also give you the chance to celebrate all of the little successes along the way!

Whether their future holds representing Australia on the field or court or simply joining in a social game in the playground; feel confident that all of the preparation you are supporting your child with at gymnastics, will give them the foundations to have fun and join in –  and really that’s all we hope for!

 

 

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