A Kinetic Christmas Day 3

Be the Tree

FROM WALKING TO HOPPING (Approximately 1-4 years)


Today's activity focuses on the Intuition Physicality. The technical term for it is proprioception. The simple definition is understanding our bodies in relation to our physical world, which is important because the body is the brain's best tool for early learning. And as any craftsman will tell you, knowing your tools is half the battle!

One of the critical aspects of Intuition is Body Awareness -- understanding the size, shape, and componentry of your own body. Now, I realize that might sound a bit odd, but in fact, young children aren't born with a complete understanding of their physical self. Instead, they "learn their body" by using their body. And that means movement.

Building a child's sense of Intuition is a process that takes many years, yet much of it goes unnoticed by adults. Like all of the Physicalities, Intuition is not a milestone you can "check off." Instead, think of it as infrastructure... the behind the scenes development that makes all the milestones we do see possible. And all it really takes is a time, a well-balanced diet of play and stimulation, and room to move.

When you think about it, kids have a lot in common with Christmas trees. The minute they're up, they're the center of attention. They wait and wait and wait for Santa.  And while they're waiting, they love to dress up! So I got to wondering what it would be like to be the tree!


Start a discussion with your child about the Christmas tree, using sensory information as a start.  For instance, how tall is it? What color is it? What does it smell like? Then encourage her imagination. "I wonder what the tree thinks about?" "I wonder what kind of ornament the tree would like to wear?"

 Next, invite her to make an ornament on a piece of paper or out of any other craft material you'd like to use. (Note: we've included a printable if that's helpful for you. See the bottom of this post.)

 Once the child has the ornament ready, suggest it might be fun to find out what it's like to be a Christmas tree. Encourage her to "hang" her ornament on herself, anywhere she'd like. Next, suggest she hang the ornament from different parts of her body such as her elbow, her knee, her chin, her nose, etc. (Assist as needed depending on the child's maturity, but in each case, narrate the body words as she decorates herself.)


Understanding her own body gives her essential cues to understanding others. Suggest you'd like a turn playing the tree, and invite her to hang her ornament on you, anywhere she'd like. Again, suggest different body parts. Can you hang the ornament on my tummy? My ear? My shoulder?


Then, work with her to transfer her own Body Awareness to a two-dimensional, symbolic format. Using the printable (see below) encourage her to hang the ornament on Tree the Tree anywhere she'd like. Next, suggest she hang the ornament on Tree's head, tummy, arm, nose, leg, etc. Note that the illustration only defines facial features. Watch to see how she imagines where Tree's body parts are. This should give you some clues to what she intuitively knows (and what she still needs to learn) about her own body.

And when you're done, help her hang her ornament on your family tree.  After all, Christmas Trees love to dress up!


Wishing you a happy, healthy, active holiday season!