No one does monsters better than our friends the Muppet’s. Since 1969 Sesame Street and the Muppet’s have taught children everything from being kind, friendships, family types, eating healthy and let’s not forget exercise!
Children follow these role models on Sesame Street because they are amusing. They allow the children to laugh and play while learning important life lessons. Our goal as teachers is to make learning just as fun as Sesame Street for 4-8 hours a day in preschool through grade school!
So, let’s use our imagination and creativity to create a fun way to exercise. You may think that all children love to exercise but as a former teacher I can assure you, this is not the case.
Just like us grown adults, children are very selective about what they want to be doing with their bodies. Have you ever tried to make a 2 year old stand when they wanted to sit? They are relentless and amazing at getting what they want! They will bend their legs, curl their body, flop into a total back bend, swing their neck back, and slowly make their way back to sitting.
You can tell them to stand, tell them what you are doing, talk to them in a child voice, or whatever it takes to get this child to react the way you want. Not working still… Sometimes it can be difficult for a trained teacher to get a child to follow her/his lead. It usually ends up with the student sitting in “think about it” or “time out.”
When these situations occur, no one gets what they wanted. The young student wanted to just sit on the floor. The teacher just wanted to have the child participate. A battle took place and no one is a winner. Not to mention now the youngster isn’t getting any exercise (as state mandated) because there was a failed power struggle.
So what can we do to make sure our children are having fun, excited to do activities, and joining us in our programs?
#1 ANSWER: Use Imagination and Creativity!
Tired of doing the same old rainy day activities? Musical chairs getting old? Singing in the rain become enough?
Let’s create the Monster Gym inside of your classroom.
1. Welcome Monsters: Greet the monster children as they walk in the door!
I’d probably be a flying fairy monster, with rainbow fur, and giant wings that sprinkled glitter everywhere! (But that’s just me!) Ask them what type of monster they would like to be all week. Write a list of all the monsters and what they look like and put it on the wall.
2. Set up monster gym: Prep ahead of time
• The children will create tiny little dumbbells using Q-tips and mini marshmallows. Take the Q-tip and stick the marshmallows on both ends. This is great for fine motor skills and fun to eat!
• Have the children paint miscellaneous sized boxes. The teacher will write 2,5 &10 lbs on the boxes. These will later be used in a “competition” to see how strong the children have become. Counting by 2’s,5’s &10’s and working on small, medium & large will help develop beginner math!
3. Create an obstacle course: Get on your hands and knees to crawl!
• Have the children navigate an obstacle course. The teacher leads the way from walking slowly around chairs and toys, dropping on the floor and crawling under “the invisible monster” to staying away from the “monster spray” (another teacher has a water bottle-kids love water!) This helps the gross motor skills. Hop on one foot, jumping jacks, and dribbling a ball can be added for extra fun!
• Relay Races are always a fun treat. Have oranges on both sides and the children must run back and forth picking up the oranges for their basket. Healthy monsters are always needed!
4. Cheer leader monsters: For the child who doesn’t want to participate.
• Everyone needs a cheer team. Stand on the sideline with these monsters and yell for their friends. Even the shyest of kids will love to laugh and clap with their friends.
5. Art monsters: Create,create,create….
• Popsicle sticks, googly eyes, puffy paint, colorful balls, construction paper, string, buttons, and glue! Have the child use their imagination to make whatever monster they want to. It may not look like ANYTHING to you but, ask the little monsters what they see and I bet it will surprise you.
• Prep a monster shape ahead of time. Have the children design a prepped monster.
• Use food to make art. What would a monster eat? Chocolate pudding with gummy worms, eyeballs, and jimmies is sure to be a success! Introduce broccoli and spinach to the strong monsters! Can we get them to eat it? Off an award to the strongest monsters!
Monster training is so much fun. Maybe next week we can be horses, unicorns, and Pegasus!
Jim Hensen Studios