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Dr Craft’s Active Play! Physical Activities for Young Children

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I have a couple of busy, active kids and sometimes it is hard to find physical activities to keep them busy and happy. Kids love to be active and we all know how good it is for them. Diane H. Craft, PhD, Professor, and creator of  Dr. Craft’s Active Play teaches in the Physical Education Department at State University of New York at Cortland. She has been working for over a decade to help improve physical fitness opportunities for preschool-aged children and has written two books on the subject. We have been given one of her books, Active Play! Fun Physical Activities for Young Children to review here on our site. 

This book includes 52 physical activities that are appropriate for toddlers and preschoolers (my older kids enjoyed them, too). They are easy and inexpensive to assemble and lead including supplies that you will likely have on hand. They are designed to get kids up and moving in a FUN way!  The book comes in spiral bound paperback format and also includes a DVD with demonstrations of 30 of the activities in the book. The book is also designed to be used with children who have physical disabilities. It is sold for $39 for the book/DVD set on their website.

These are the chapters in the book-

Chapter 1: The Importance of Physical Activity
Chapter 2: Learning Through Physical Activity
Chapter 3: Leading Physical Activities
Chapter 4: Physical Activities for Young Children
Chapter 5: Physical Activities for Infants and Toddlers
Chapter 6: Physical Activities for School-Aged Children
Chapter 7: Physical Activities for Families
Chapter 8: 20-Week Physical Activity Curriculum

We really really have been enjoying the activity ideas in the book.  Here are a couple of the ones we have done and loved. Each one is simple to assemble!

Swat the Fly:

Using a paper plate, draw a fly on it and tie it to a string. One child runs, pulling the plate from behind. Another chases it and hits the fly with a pool noodle (or other soft object). 

Hoop Target:

Tie a hula hoop to a string and hang it from the ceiling (I duck taped it up). Put a basket or bucket behind the hoop and the kids throw the ball through the hoop into the basket. My little guy just LOVED this one. He just loves playing with balls, so this was a great activity for him. 

Easy Punching Ball:

Use a light-weight ball or balloon and a pair of pantyhose. Stretch the pantyhose over the ball and tie closed around the ball. Tie the feet together on the pantyhose and suspend from the ceiling.  Let your kids punch and kick the ball. So simple, but this one kept all of my kids busy for a LONG time!   


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