Looking for a fun and super simple listening game that targets body awareness and sequencing? This is the activity for you!
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Do you ever have those moments where you have just a few minutes of downtime to fill with a group of kids? Maybe your class is ready a few minutes early for dismissal. Or maybe you finish up a therapy session before time is up.
Not everyone would know what to do to fill this time, to keep kids occupied and engaged so you don’t lose their attention. But these little moments are teachers’ and therapists’ time to shine. We can whip up an activity at the drop of a hat, whether we have supplies and materials on hand or not.
I was in this situation a few weeks back at The Treehouse. A play group was ending soon, but we had about 5 minutes to fill. I looked on the shelf, found a little shark-shaped squeeze ball, and made up this simple activity on the fly. The kids loved it and it was really great for challenging direction-following skills and body awareness for a group of 2 and 3-year-olds.
What you’ll need:
–a squishy ball or a balloon filled with play dough
What to do:
Have kids sit in a circle. Start by holding the ball and telling the kids to watch you and, when the ball is passed to them, to follow your demonstration.
Decide on a movement, body part, or sequence of movements to perform with the ball. For example:
“Squeeze with one hand, squeeze with the other hand, squish on the floor.”
“Squish on your head, squish on your knee, squeeze with both hands.”
“Squish on one foot, squish on the other foot, squish on your tummy.”
“Squeeze with both hands, squish on your shoulder, roll to a friend.”
Demonstrate the sequence or movement and then pass the ball to the child sitting next to you. Have them repeat the demonstration and then pass the ball to the next person in the circle who will do the same thing. Repeat until the ball comes back to you.
It’s that simple!
How to change it up:
There are tons of variations to try with this activity:
-For older kids, add several steps to the demonstration to challenge listening skills.
-For younger kids, try one simple movement at a time to target body part identification and body awareness (e.g. squish the ball on your head, squish the ball on your foot).
-Providing a repeated and simplified verbal cue can help as each person performs the sequence of movements (e.g. Squeeze, squeeze, squish).
-Work in other movements such as midline crossing (e.g. hold the ball to each side while holding with both hands) or catching (e.g. toss the ball up in the air and catch it).
For Virtual Sessions:
Provide the instructions listed above and have the child complete the actions with their own squishy ball! No ball? No problem! Do the same activities with a pair of rolled socks!