A Kinetic Christmas Day 8

Day 8

The Chimney Challenge

FROM JUMPING TO SKIPPING (Approximately 2+ years)


Now, this might sound funny, but kids often don't have an intuitive sense of whether or not they can fit in a space. That's one of the reasons they bump into things a lot and even get themselves stuck sometimes.

Activities where a child can experience the size of his body in relation to the space he's in gives his brain rich sensory inputs about the current size and contours himself. And I think that's why kids love tunnels. They're discovering themselves! (And it also explains how Santa knows he'll fit down all those chimneys!)


Just like all the Kinetic Christmas activities, this can be played any time of year, but for the holidays, here's a fun way to stage the game...

Everyone has been so good this year, Santa has more presents than ever to deliver! And he's a bit worried about that because there are so many different kinds of chimneys. Some chimneys are big and some are small. Some are long, others short. Some are wide and some are skinny! Santa has decided he needs to practice his chimney skills. Can you be Santa's helper?

GETTING READY: Find several different sized boxes. (Be sure they're all big enough or the child to crawl through.) Open up both ends and lay them out around the room as tunnels. By varying the size of the boxes, he's getting a different intuitive sense of the size of his body and how he fits into different kinds of spaces.

Next, gather some "presents" from things you have handy and put them in a bin (the sleigh). Balls, soft toys, and toy vehicles, work great for this game. Try to vary the size of the objects from large to small.

Just like Santa, the object of the game is to get all the presents through the chimneys. Explore different ways to tunnel through, insuring your child takes time to go through each one. To get you started, here's how Santa does it…


ONE AT A TIME. Take one present at a time and see how quickly you can tunnel through the chimney to empty Santa's sleigh. (For younger children, place the present at the end of the tunnel to entice them to crawl through.) When he's ready, have him try to manage getting two or more presents through the chimney at a time.

COMMANDO CHIMNEY. Crawling on your belly using your elbows.

SEAL IN THE CHIMNEY. Wiggle through on your belly, keeping your arms at your side.

WORM IN THE CHIMNEY. Wiggle through the chimney on your back.

FORWARDS-BACKWARDS. Crawl to the edge of the box to deliver the present then back out.

BACKWARDS-FORWARDS. Crawl backwards through the box, deliver the present, then crawl forwards to get back to the sleigh.

CHIMNEY SWEEP. There's soot on the walls inside the chimney. Make you way through withOUT touching the sides!

THE CANDY CANE CHIMNEY. As he crawls through, have him stop, roll over, and then make his way through to the other side.

THE LONGEST CHIMNEY! Lay all the boxes end to end to create the longest chimney ever!

THE TALLEST CHIMNEY. While you have the longest chimney set up, thread a rope through to tunnel. Hold on to one end and have the child pull himself through using the rope, as if he's climbing up just like Santa! (This is great for upper body strength.)

THE CHIMNEY COURSE. Lay out a tinsel trail around the room and through one or more of the boxes you have to create a winding path for him to crawl along.

Wishing you a happy, healthy, and active holiday season!