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Monday, February 18, 2008

Puddle Jumper~ Part Two

As I discussed last week, mud and mud puddles are considered REQUIRED curriculum here in our household. In our hour or so we spent with said puddles we covered MANY subjects: Science, Math, Language, Art.....and Physical Development. One of my many topics of interest through my work, in Early Childhood Development, is Physical Activity for young children. In the last year, I have attended 3 separate trainings designed to help increase the physical activity offered in Preschool Programs. Being the ever dedicated mother, I have taken much of this information to heart, and have applied my knowledge to mine and Sugar's life.

Four days a week, Sugar spends 9 hours in a Home Daycare/Preschool. Though I love her provider, and know Sugar is well taken care of, a major concern is the amount of physical activity provided during the rainy months. I am certain that Sugar falls quite short of the suggested HOUR of ORGANIZED physical activity each day. To make up for this shortage, I try to spend ½ hour each evening MOVING with my girl. We have some great movement CD's with interactive songs. We dance, and follow the singing instructions. It took a month or so for Sugar to really buy into it....but now she requests certain songs. Our hearts get to pumping, and our smiles brighten. I have no doubt it is not only good for our bodies....but wonderful for our souls.

You may be wondering what all this has to do with our puddle jumping excursion besides the obvious. Granted....going for a walk, and jumping into puddles is considered physical activity, but I take it a whole step further. I believe whole heartedly, that the earlier young children master body movement, the more proficient they will be in the future. I also believe that learning to move your body builds the brain connections you will need to do anything from Reading to Mathematics. With this in mind, I don't just observe Sugar playing in the puddles, I participate.

I model different movements for Sugar to follow. I challenge her to move her body in different ways. We work on balance, bending, stretching, hopping, jumping, leaping, running, walking, galloping, tip-toeing, throwing and so on. It is a blast, and I feel good that I am not only improving her health in the present, but I am increasing her chances of excelling in the future. It all makes sense......and it is FUN!

Here she is working on balance, and bending. To encourage this, I suggested picking up rocks to throw in the puddle. I even pointed out certain rocks to give her different opportunities to reach and lean.

At the same time, obviously, we worked on throwing and tossing. We discussed the difference between an overhand throw, and an underhand toss. It was interesting to see the difference in her accuracy using each technique.

Needless to say, the jumping skills are easily encouraged when puddles are present. However, I find that Sugar still struggles with a TRUE jump. She finds it very difficult to have both her feet leave the ground at the same time, and land together as well. Hopping, which requires holding one foot off the ground, then hopping up into the air with the other foot, while landing on the same foot is equally difficult. It is a whole lot easier for her to Leap. She projects her body off of one foot, while landing on the other foot. This is by far her preferred method when attempting to launch herself OVER puddles.

To encourage her to work on all types of jumping, leaping and hopping, I call out different ideas as she is playing. She likes to be challenged! "Hey Sugar! Show mama how you can leap OVER that big puddle over there!" She gladly obliges.

She loves to Leap....


"Hey about leaping INTO the puddle!"

To get her to actually JUMP, I often encourage running, then jumping INTO the puddle. If I suggest the get the BIGGEST splash, she is all for it, and actually comes fairly close to a TRUE jump. It is a work in progress.

All attempts require celebration though...and for that I am always available. I can whoop and holler with the best of them. It is lovely to know that along with the leg muscles...our facial muscles are getting a workout as well. Go Sugar!

"RINGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG..." The bell has rung. This concludes another successful day in Puddle Jumping 101. Please join us next week for Hide and Seek 102. See you there!

25 Live It or Love It:

AnnD said...

Oh. My. God. Those were even better than the first set. I loved them!

Amy said...

these are fantastic! i LOVE how you captured her shadow!

Anonymous said...

I still love to puddle jump. Always have. And I absolutely agree with you on the physical movement=brain connections thing.

CMB said...

Very very cute. Love the advice also ;)

Momo Fali said...

Playing in mud puddles? My kids officially want to come live with you.

Autumn said...

Yay Sugar! Those pictures are fabulous Corey, I love the reflection ones but the ones of her jumping and splashing are my favorites. Sugar is so lucky to have such a fun and imaginative mommy.

My Trendy Tykes said...

I love jumping in puddles of water myself!

Love the pics and those cool boots.


Anonymous said...

I love my Mom, and I think she did a fine job raising me, but I actually found myself wishing YOU were my mother growing up while I read this! I love the pictures and I love that you are so hands on and free with Sugar!

Anonymous said...

You're such an inspiration!

MamaGeek @ Works For Us said...

She is the poster child for a cute puddle jumper. Love that reflection shot!

Megan@SortaCrunchy said...

THIS post should answer any questions as to why you have named your blog what you have. Your love for life is so easy to see. And look at how it rubs off on Sugar!

Those are amazing shots, and the one that captures her reflection in the mud puddle is freaking BRILLIANT.

mamashine said...

You are amazing.

And yup, as a daycare provider, I will say it's hard to get in the activity on rainy days. We've just discovered Hullabaloo and they love it. :)

mamashine said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
the rotten correspondent said...

You are a puddle rockin' mom! She looks like she's having a total blast.

holly said...

you are just awesome awesome awesome, corey!!!! you totally rock! how i would love to see you guys in action for a day.

okay, here's what we do. we get a time machine. we go back, you teach my mom all the stuff you just talked about. then i have fun as a kid, and am much smarter for it.

then, i have *my* kids, and i do same with them.

see? easy.

this weekend good for you?

Anonymous said...

I love this post. The pics are great; the story excellent. You encourage her to play in mud puddles. With you. Something I need to store away for later.


Maude Lynn said...

This is just a gorgeous series of pictures!

Mary Ann said...

Wow! I love, love, love the picture of Sugar's reflection in the water. Awesome!

Joeprah said...

What about writing on the walls 201? I was wondering if she was just going to keep jumping over the puddle or into...glad she found the middle of that sucker. Cool pic adventure.

Deb said...

Oh these are awesome photos - I love the action shots of Sugar jumping! What a wonderful way to incorporate learning and physical activity into something so fun for her and you.

And you're making me really, really hate the snow and wind and bitter cold that is outside my window right now. Sigh.

Kimberly Vanderhorst said...

Those are such amazing shots! Beautifully sequenced!

Anonymous said...

What fun! I'm not good about letting the kids get dirty. And Xander can't really jump yet either, so don't worry.

Michelle said...

You do an amzaing job of capturing so much through your photographs! Who knew mud puddles could be so much fun..and a learning experience to boot!

Michie said...

This was great - I'd love any suggestions on how to get a toddler/preschooler to do "organized" physical activity. What exactly does that mean?
I love all of your pictures - my daughter would love the puddle jumping, but she would have told me to put the camera down after one or two pictures - she would have wanted me to jump more and take fewer pictures! :)

Jo Beaufoix said...

I love this Corey. You do such cool stuff with Sugarbear. I need to let M and E get messier. Sighhhh. And she is an amazing leaper. The rest will come. They're still so little.

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