Inside Day. Not the most jubilant phrase an educator wants to see written in the communication book each morning. First a sigh, then the wheels start to turn. After exhausting the table made into a slide activity, we decided to bring our outdoor play space materials inside.
On Thursday, Erin brought in several blocks and boards from our Outlast Outdoor block set. She interlocked the blocks and boards to create a zig-zag balance beam. It was a bit taller than what we are used to balancing on (16cm) and only as wide as the children’s shoes put together. It was an immediate hit!
Some of the advanced gross motor skills we observed were when children: used only one foot to step onto the beam; jumped off the beam with both feet leaving the beam at the same time; jumped off and landed over 6 inches forward; and, stood on one foot for about 1 second.
The balance beam provided so much opportunity for risk taking and perseverance. We noticed several children begin on the beam with hesitation and skepticism – to the point where they would scare themselves with their own sudden movements of losing their balance. As these children were given the opportunity and support to persist, they began to move along the beam with confidence and fluidity.
On Thursday afternoon, the balance beam magically turned into a train. Without suggestion from an educator, and to our surprise, we found several children sitting on the balance beam with one leg on each side. We watched as almost all 16 children fit themselves onto the beam. It was then announced by one of the children that they were on a train. To enhance their experience, we put on some train sounds. Kerry then offered to take them on another guided trip to a farm and then to a zoo. Twenty minutes later, we returned to daycare – just in time for story time and lunch.
Who knows how long the balance beam will remain in our room? What else will it turn into? So many opportunities to come – regardless if it’s an Inside Day or not.