This time of the year is known for a lot of things: the weather getting colder, holiday music in the air, and… PACKAGES. We all know our friendly neighborhood mail carriers are working extra hard these days, so why not give them a little “help”? Grab a box you have lying around and let your little one join in the delivery fun – no mail delays allowed!
The goal: Get the package to its final destination as fast as you can!
The crux of this activity is that it’s mainly an obstacle course.
On chilly days where the park isn’t an option (like during a pandemic), finding a way to get some wiggles out and our bodies moving is more important than ever. Just like most of my activities, this one is easily customizable to different ages and stages and can be made extra fun with a little bit of magic!
Of course, any obstacle course props you have lying around can be fun.
Things like tunnels or balance beams are always a hit. You can also use general household items like pillows to hop around on or a broomstick hurdle, but there’s only one thing you really need to lay out a fun course: TAPE. I have found that masking tape or painters tape work really well as opposed to scotch tape (too hard to see) or duct tape (too sticky and hard to clean up).
Once you’ve cleared a little space start a tape line.
For little buds, just walking in a straight line can be enough of a challenge in trying to get from one side of the room to another – especially holding a box. Once they’ve mastered a straight path, make the trail into different shapes: loop-de-loops or zig-zagging can be fun and tricky to follow along.
For more advanced movers, there’s a lot of fun ways to expand upon the classic tape line.
Different sections of your line can correlate to different gross motor movements: Straight lines mean tip toes, a dashed line requires big steps or hops, a star on the path means you have to spin around three times, etc. This can also be accomplished with different colors of tape correlating to those moves. Having visual cues to go along with movement instruction can be a really helpful tool for growing brains. Incorporating your environment into the course also adds a level of challenge and storytelling. For example, you might have to sneak past the dog bed so you don’t wake him up. For even bigger movement explorations, you can have the line trail under the table where you’d have to duck or crawl, or you can take the line all the way up or down stairs. The possibilities are endless.
Now for a bit of magic!
Obstacle courses are fun on their own, but I love to use a bit of storytelling to take the game from just a big body challenge into an imagination adventure our little ones can grab on to. That’s what turns this from an anytime game to a holiday activity! For those celebrating Christmas: can your little ones turn into elves and help Santa deliver the presents? For families celebrating Hanukkah or Kwanzaa: help your little one travel through the course multiple times delivering one candle at a time.
Of course, you can always add to the fun just by playing a mail person, and noticing how much work it takes to get those deliveries done on time. Once all your packages have been “delivered” finish off your game by making a sign, note, or treat for your mail carrier to thank them for all they are doing. Use this as an opportunity to talk about how hard people in our communities are working to make these days special for everyone!
Amelia’s been moving and grooving from day one. Her parents once told her that as a child she “wasn’t content until she could walk on her own.” Walking quickly turned into dancing, and she’s never stopped. Originally from Houston, Texas, Amelia spent her childhood trying to do anything she considered “artistic” until finally finding her passion in theatre and dance. She graduated from Northwestern University where she was a Theatre major, Dance minor, and graduated with a certificate in Music Theatre.
Working at Bubbles is a dream come true! The mixture of imagination, adventure, art, and music is perfect for Miss Amelia’s energetic and creative spirit. She has been working with young children since she was a teenager, and loves the opportunity Bubbles gives to combine her love of children with her love of the arts. When not working, she can be found on stage performing, teaching herself how to play musical instruments, and baking treats for friends!