Physical Development


Children need ample time and activities to develop their gross motor muscles.  In a school setting, there are playgrounds where children can run, jump, climb, and use several muscles during physical activity.  We also have gymnasiums where students can play sports, and games.  However, there are some days that are not easy to give children these opportunities.  There are always days that it rains, and we have indoor recess.  And, the forecast is calling for a few rainy days in my area.  I want to be prepared for those days the students won’t be able to play outside at recess.

Some simple ideas to with young students for indoor recess can be Simon Says, Yoga for Kids,  Head & Shoulders, the Hokey Pokey, Shake Your Sillies Out, or simply throw on a CD and play Freeze Dance.  As long as the children are safe, and moving, whatever you decide to play with them will help keep them healthy!


Our gym was free for a 40 minute this morning so we split the time with our ELK/Gr.1 class.  To take advantage of the 20 minutes we had to get our children up and moving, we decided to play a fun warm-up game of “Peanut Butter and Jam Sandwiches”.

Half the class were told they were peanut butter, and the other half of our class were told they were jam.  While we played music, they children could dance and move around the gym.  When the music stopped, they had to quickly find a partner who was the opposite of them and stand together to make “Peanut Butter and Jam Sandwiches”.  The children thought it was hilarious!  They wanted to play again to another song, so we changed it up to “Hot Dog and Bun”. 

The various combinations you can use are endless, and not only does it allow the children to get up and move, but they also have an opportunity to express themselves through free dance.


To help teach our full day kindergarten students how to keep our hearts healthy, we have been talking about the importance of exercise and activity.  To reinforce this, we did an art project.

On red paper, we traced out large hearts.  We had the children cut them out (helps with their fine motor skills too).  We had several pictures of people exercising, and playing outdoors.  We also had a few pictures of activities that don’t help our hearts like a television, computer, and video games.  Once the children finished cutting the heart out, they glued on pictures they thought would help keep their hearts healthy.

Once the hearts were dry, we hung them out in the hallway so we could remind the other students in the school how to be active and healthy!


In our school, we do our Daily Physical Activity (DPA) as an entire school.  In the fall, our principal initiated our Morning Walk Program.

Our morning bell used to ring at 9:10am.  Now, it rings at 8:55am.  This signals the entire school that our morning walk has begun.  We use pylons to set out a track and all of our students walk this track until 9:15am.  The yard duty supervisors and our principal assist with this walk, and for the rest of the school staff, the program is voluntary. 

This 20 minute walk not only gives the students, and the staff a chance to stay active everyday, but it also gives all of us a time every morning to talk to each other as we walk.  It is a wonderful opportunity to get to know our students better, including children who are not in our class.  We also have parents who come and walk with us, which builds on the school-family connections.


To continue our focus on healthy eating in our Kindergarten class, I went to the grocery store last night and bought some fruits and vegetables.  During our last recess, I cut some of them up into bite size pieces and put them on a plate.  When the kids came inside, and were settled on the carpet, we did a taste testing.  I had 5 children at a time come up and pick a piece of the same food.  Then, I had them describe what it tasted like and wrote the words on our large whiteboard.  Some of the words the children used were sour, sweet, yummy and soft.  Once we had tasted everything, I circled the words that all of the foods had in common.  I used them to show the children that healthy food all tasted “yummy”.  I wanted to show the children that healthy food also tastes good.  To end the group discussion, I also told them that healthy food also helps our bodies grow.


This week we are beginning to talk about healthy living in our classroom.  We will be learning about good nutrition and the importance of exercise.

Today, we began with healthy eating habits.  During a large group instruction time, I took a piece of chart paper and divided into 4.  I drew a picture of one food from each food group in a corner.  I had several pictures of healthy foods, as well as a few pictures of unhealthy foods upside down on a table, each with a piece of tape on it.  I had one picture for each child in our classroom.  The children got to pick one and then we all helped figure out which food group it belonged to.  Once we were done, I hung the paper on the wall so we can use it as a reference guide for upcoming lessons.


At our school, we still have an annual Christmas Concert.  Our Kindergarten class participated by singing a song.  We did not need specific costumes, but we wanted the kids to create something they could wear to look “festive”.  I decided they could create necklaces.

I gathered mini plastic ornaments, jingle bells and ribbon.  Each child was given a long piece of ribbon and then they could choose want they wanted to string on that ribbon for the necklace.  By having the students string the items on the ribbon, it was a great fine motor activity.  The next skill I wanted the students to practice was patterning.  They could choose the items to use for the necklaces, but they had to string them on the ribbon in a pattern.  Some of them chose to do “ornament, bell, ornament, bell” patterns.  Others chose to create patterns by colour, or size.

The necklaces turned out really cute, and looked fantastic on the children for their performance!

Naps is a question that everyone seems  to wonder about … “What are they going to do for the full day? Are they going to have a nap time? How are they going to manage such a long day? They are still so young.”

We didn’t have a quiet time at first, but we found that after the first few weeks of school that all of the children needed a quiet time after lunch. So, when they finish eating, the lunch supervisor puts on some quiet music and they lie down on the carpet. If they fall asleep then our thinking is that they must have really needed a nap and would find it difficult to cope without it. If they don’t fall asleep, then they have had some time in the day to be still and quiet.

After about 15 minutes of quiet time, one person takes those children who are ready to get their outdoor clothes on, and head outside for outdoor play.

Generally, there are two or three children who remain asleep, so we leave them on the carpet supervised by the other staff member.

They usually remain asleep until we wake them up on our return to the classroom.

We also have some children who fall asleep sometimes during the day, during our play time and again we do not panic, but find them a spot to put down a beach style towel and fall asleep.  They clearly need it and Kindergarten children are young and have specific physical developmental needs that other children in the school system might not have.  

Shan and Alison