Several years ago while attending a conference, my co-workers and I were turned on to an idea for using "tummy time" with preschoolers. The idea was for preschoolers to engage in activities while lying on their tummies in an effort to strengthen their upper body (arms, neck, shoulders) as well as fine motor control which would help prepare them physically for future writing. I never looked into the science behind it because it made sense and it sounded like a fun idea.
Back at our center, each teacher prepared an area of her classroom specifically for tummy time. The teachers gathered suitable tummy time materials in individual baskets and added them to a shelf near her large group rug...small individual throw rugs were added for children to use if they chose a different area of the classroom as their space. A small portion of each day was devoted to the children playing in this way. It turned out that it was a great chance to get the kids engaged with different materials and activities in a low key manner. Think about it...it is hard to get too rowdy when lying on one's tummy. It made for a mellow time during the day. They kids enjoyed these experiences and often requested "tummy time" which meant it kept us teachers on our toes finding appropriate materials to stock the baskets.mm
Here is a run down of some of the baskets to choose from:
- Mr. Potato Head
- Etch-a-Sketch (although hard to shake/erase while propped on one's elbows...a protective helmet might have been a good call with this basket)
- Stationery, writing instruments, envelopes
- Sorting baskets--kid's meal toys were perfect here
- Small play sets--construction scene, doll house, dinosaurs, etc.
- Coloring books, crayons, colored pencils
- Games: dominoes, tic-Tac-Toe, checkers, card games, memory
- Lacing cards, dressing frames
- Tray with play dough
- Stencils for tracing
There are so many possibilities and possibly so many benefits!