Activities for Children

Follow me!
Walking the Balance Track -- "Follow me!"
A youngster leads a group of children balancing gingerly around such a track. One of the simplest pieces [of the Build-It-Yourself
Playground] to build, and one which is endlessly fascinating to children, is nothing more than a long narrow board set a few inches
above the ground. -- Bonnie Prudden's Fitness Book (NY: The Ronald Press Company, 1959)

Beats taking a darn test!!
Creative Dancing -- "Beats taking a darn test!!"
Move in any way you want to -- try out different ways of moving: lying, sitting, standing, moving around the room. One makes up a
movement, shows it, then all do it. It is an approach which cultivates dance as creative activity rather than as gymnastic technique or
theatrical display. -- Creative Dance in Kindergarten, by Barbara Mettler (Tucson: Mettler Studios, 1976)

We express our energy!!!
Expressive Movement -- "We express our energy!!!"
Jump and jump and jump! The exuberant freedom of the jumping and leaping of young children should be appreciated here. In this
[the child] learns something about himself and movement and he needs many such experiences to build a rich vocabulary of movement.
-- Expressive Movement, by Elizabeth Murdoch (London: W & R Chambers, 1973)

Also see: Movement Education: A Program for Young Children, Ages 2 to 7, by June Gustafson Munro (Newport News: MDEA Press, 1991)

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Think Different? How often adults have heard the advertising slogan "Think Different" or "Think Outside the Box" when, in actual practice,
we are more likely to be hammered down into conformity if we think outside the mainstream. This perverse will-to-conformity has led to
the "medicalization" of a generation of children. Any child unable or unwilling to sit for long periods of time, ingesting and regurgitating
pre-fabricated curriculum, is labeled "hyper-active" and/or "attention deficit".

It is like the movie "Invasion of the Body Snatchers": the pods have arrived via a UFO and gradually everyone becomes a "pod person"
(a zombie). Neighbors who've already become pod persons leave pods for their un-podded neighbors, so they, too, become pod people:
"If your child can't keep-up with the class-work, he might develop low self-esteem." TRANSLATION: "Feed your child Ritalin."

Our most active, creative, inventive children are being medicalized into pods. Utilitarianism rules the day. Sitting well has become the
primary virtue.

In happy contrast to this dismal scenario, we have the children photographed above who joyfully shout as they leap about: "We express
our energy!!!" For them energy is a creative tool: the source of their joy and the key to their success!

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A child does her posture training

Shoulder Stand



Trudi Schoop on Children's Movement Education:

I would [recommend] modern dance, as it is handled today. The body is not in a corset. The body can express itself. The jumps are jumps
we would really jump over a creek or whatever. Maybe it should be a mixture of modern dance and gymnastics and all the things the body
should be able to do: climbing, swimming, falling! Falling also comes into modern dance -- being able to fall without hurting yourself,
being able to turn fast or slow, to jump. All those things should be included. From childhood on until we are grandmothers we dance!

--"An Interview with Trudi Schoop" by Susan Frieder Wallock
(American Journal of Dance Therapy, vol. 6, iss. 1, Dec. 1983, pgs. 5-16)


A thing which fades
With no outward sign --
Is the flower
Of the heart of man
In this world!

--Ono No Komachi (834-880 A.D.)

Kokin Shu 797, trans. by Arthur Waley, "Japanese Poetry: The Uta", 1919