The Early Years: Calming activities for your preschooler
By: Deb Archer for the Lake County News-Chronicle, Lake County News Chronicle
I couldn’t have asked for a better day. Four very active boys came to preschool with an abundance of pent up energy. We were talking about the letter B that week and the activity I had planned was a science experiment involving blowing around different objects using a straw.
As a parent educator, I help parents find strategies to deal with the challenges that come with raising a preschooler. Last spring we talked about ways to help our kids deal with high levels of energy. That day was going to be the perfect day to put these strategies to the test.
Before taking free throws, professional basketball players often pause and take a deep breath to focus their thoughts and relax their body before taking their shot. At times we need to help our energetic kids focus and relax, too. Deep breathing can be a very effective strategy. So at preschool we began our “wind power” experiment by giving each child a straw and a variety of objects such as Kleenex, coffee filters and foam, ping-pong or cotton balls.
In order to make these objects move, our little scientists had to take a deep breath and blow through the straw, sometimes very hard. They discovered that some of the objects moved more easily than others. We conducted several experiments and even raced to see who could get their ping-pong ball across the floor first. I had to smile as I watched my boys pause every so often to take a deep breath to make the ball move even faster. I then remembered another great way to encourage deep breathing —blowing bubbles! I quickly grabbed the spill-proof bubble containers and we all blew bubbles! We were all laughing trying to pop the bubbles, and blow even bigger ones.
Yes, I did get a few wet spots on the floor, but it was soap, so no big deal. In the end, we all had a great time experimenting with how we could make things move with our breathing and blowing (letter B), and in turn, I had a much quieter afternoon. Parents and grandparents, you may find this strategy helpful with the energetic youngsters in your lives.