Babies Walkers to 2 2s to 3s 3s to 4s

Overview and benefit

This activity uses children’s imaginations, combined with some physical moves, to explore a zoo. Children go on an imaginary journey to a zoo and pretend to move like the animals they see there, with an accompanying sound track. The physical moves in this activity are designed to improve their co-ordination and muscle control. Each movement has been given a description which fits into the imaginary scenario so that children can better understand and remember the movement. The emphasis is on improving the co-ordinating and control of each movement, developing their gross motor skills. There are lots of movements which cross the body or which require children to co-ordinate their arms or legs. Young children struggle with this but it is great for brain integration as it requires them to use both the left and right sides of their brain at once. There are also lots of movements which, when done slowly and carefully, promote balance and strength. They will also understand a little more about the animals they are meeting on their journey.

Equipment required

  • Imagination workout track
  • Laminated animal pictures (optional)
  • Toys for Discovery Box (optional)

Link to resources

Duration

  • Two to three weeks

How it works

Children learn to do the movement routine whilst imagining they are doing different activities.

There are 2 versions of the accompanying track on the CD. The actions for both versions are identical, however the first version (wordy) has more cues and prompts regarding the movements and is therefore easier for the instructor to use if they are unfamiliar with the activity. However, once you are familiar with the actions, you might prefer to be more in control and be the one leading the activity rather than the CD, in which case choose the second version (simple). This will allow you to be more responsive to your children and adapt your commentary to the needs of each class.

What to do in the class

Before doing the Zoo imagination workout, explain that you will be going on an imaginary trip to a zoo and that you will be seeing some animals. Ask if anyone has been to a zoo and what animals there might be there. Perhaps draw out of you discovery box some toys of the things you are going to see. You can also use them at the end to recap what you did. Explain to the parents that as well as learning about different animals this activity also improves the children’s motor skills and co-ordination

Ensure the children are standing in a circle with enough space for them to spread out their arms without touching each other. All the movements should be done on the spot. If the children move around they wont be able to focus on doing the required movement.

Begin by setting the scene and getting the children to prepare for their visit, e.g put on their shoes and coats. Now follow the script and instructions below ensuring all the children are able to watch you perform the movements and are joining in. Each movement is described on the track and then sufficient time is given for you to encourage them to participate. Change the movement when instructed to on the track. But don’t leave any gaps between movements. Keep the existing movement going until the next one has been described and everyone is ready and watching you do the next one, or just get the children to march on the spot. Keep the movements precise and in time with the beat as much as possible.

Zoo Imagination-1 from MAD Academy on Vimeo.

Adaptation for older/younger children

This element can be used successfully with Walkers to Four classes and Two to Four classes

What to do in a nursery setting

No adaptation is necessary

 Tips

It’s important to explain to parents before you start that this activity is all about big cross body movements which are good for developing the connections across the brain through co-ordination. Make your actions really exaggerated so the children find it easier to follow.