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First comes Brain Gym.
Then comes Hello Song.
Then comes the LAP BOUNCE.
Every Little Learner’s class (those are our baby and toddler classes) has a lap bounce near the beginning. After our “activity to reduce stress” (Brain Gym) and our “activity to connect” (the Hello song) we have our lap bounce.
This is always a sweet, fun, and short activity. It is an opportunity for you to trigger the giggles. If it goes as planned, your children will be begging “again!”
The first element is a rhyme or a song. Don’t make your educator perform a solo! Remember, she is the facilitator and you are your child’s partner. Sing or chant along so that your child can hear their favorite sound in the world: YOUR voice. Nothing makes them feel more loved or safe than you.
The next element is steady beat. This is crucial to early childhood development as well as early musical development. Learning to feel a steady beat lays the foundation for your child’s gross motor movements. It helps in smoothing their gait, making it easier for them to walk and run and jump with ease and confidence. It helps them organize and coordinate movements and develop coordination, which will benefit them when they learn to bounce and catch a ball.
It also helps with their pattern recognition, and in developing their auditory discrimination. This foundation will aid them as they learn to speak fluently and eventually read smoothly and with cadence. And of course this lays the groundwork for further musical skills, but in a developmentally appropriate way.
The next element of our lap bounce is, of course, the BOUNCE. This is the fun part. This is where you can play with up and down, side to side, wiggles, rocking, and always a big finish PLOP!
Besides being fun, this motion stimulates your child’s proprioception. Also known as kinesthesia, this is the body’s ability to sense movement, action, and location. Simply put, it is your child’s awareness of where their body is in space, time, and in relationship to other people and objects.
It also develops your child’s vestibular system. This is their sense of balance and coordination. As the bounce sends their brain information about how their body is moving, it learns how to make compensatory movements. The brain then teaches the body how to regain balance, and as they do so they gain in muscle and core strength.
Who knew there was THAT much developmental work going on in such a little activity?
But don’t forget that it’s also a great CONNECTION activity. All the lap bounces you learn in class are now in your parenting toolbox that you can use when you need to connect and play with your little one. After all, remember that children learn best through PLAY. So don’t forget to have fun with it!
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