Children love to move. Alone or in a group, in the gym, on the sports field, in the garden, at the playground, in the swimming pool in summer, or snow in winter. A variety of games and exercise activities performed in the kindergarten, school but also in their leisure time, take into account the children’s constant urge to move. In all games, sporting, and movement activities, it is important to maintain, awaken, and increase the children’s joy for movement and play.
A wide range of activities that meet individual movement needs and interests has a lasting effect on the overall development of the child’s personality. Physical and movement exercises in different spaces and situations can stimulate creative approach to movement. Playing together (movement games, dances, team games) or exercising within the framework of various sports activities (e.g. apparatus gymnastics, obstacle courses, competitions, etc.) also allow the child to try out and practise various social behaviours: observing game rules and resolving conflicts that may arise, or being aware of success, fairness, competition, and solidarity. Discovering personal preferences for different forms of movement and incorporating them into personal everyday life enables children – beyond what is offered in kindergarten and school – to actively spend their free time doing sports, which further reinforces the joy of movement. A variety of sporting activities and exercise opportunities also improve children’s coordination and motor skills, as well as their physical well-being in general, and positively impact their health.
The children’s natural urge to move can and should be satisfied at any time of the year – indoors and outdoors. In addition to sporting activities and exercise programmes in kindergarten and school, children usually take every opportunity to move in their free time. Running, catching and ball games with siblings or friends, riding tricycles, scooters, bicycles, inline skates, skateboards, swinging, sliding, climbing, jumping on the trampoline, etc. offer fun movement experiences in the garden or at the (indoor) playground. In the wintertime, the children enjoy riding on sleighs, skiing, ice skating or simply ‘playing in the snow ‘(building a snowman, igloo etc.).In summer they like to splash, slide, and swim in the swimming pool Enrolling in various movement programmes and gymnastics courses (e.g. in kids’ sport clubs) enables children to move all year round and gain further valuable movement experiences. Multi-sports activities, athletics, tennis, football, freestyle acrobatics, parkour, Ninja Kids trainings, dancing or yoga classes, can support children in developing motor and coordination skills, body awareness, dexterity and increasing confidence in performing various movements and sporting activities, which ultimately strengthens the children’s self-confidence.
Let us offer our children opportunities to move, in kindergarten, at school but also in their free time, in order to maintain and increase their innate urge to move and the joy of movement, so that they can grow up to be balanced, happy and healthy young adults.
*Claudia Prasch-Hofer, BEST Institut für berufsbezogene Weiterbildung und Personaltraining GmbH, Vienna