Before starting to stretch, it is important to get the children moving in order to get their blood flowing. This is especially important if they have been sitting a long time for class. You can have them walk around the gym or playground or play a short, fun game that gets them to move around. For kindergartners, a fun game is usually a better way to get them moving. One example is to have them play Cat and Mouse. Have all the children wear mouse "tails" and chase them around until you catch all the "mice" and collect all their tails.
Warming up before playing sports or games is very important for children, especially if they are going through a growth spurt. It can prevent injuries, help them recover after exercise and increase their agility and flexibility. Aside from stretching every major muscle in the body, warm up stretches should be fun and dynamic in order to keep kindergartners engaged and entertained.
Stretching the Legs
A simple leg stretch that is easy for kindergartners to do is to stand straight, bend over and reach for their toes. Another stretch is the leg kick exercise, where the children stand on one foot and kick their other leg across several times. This will not only warm up their legs, but increase their coordination skills. An easy way for 5-year-olds to stretch their calves is to have them stand one foot in front of the other, both facing forward, and have them bend their front knee and hold for 15 seconds.
Stretching the Arms
There are several ways young children can stretch their arm muscles. One is to have them do arm circles while stretching their arms to their sides. To stretch their shoulders, have them reach with one arm to the opposite side while pressing their elbow with the other side, or have children reach as high as they can towards the sky.
Back and Neck Stretches
Along with their arms and legs, it is very important for children to stretch and warm up their back and their neck. One way to warm up the neck is to have them tilt their head left and hold for 15 seconds, and repeat on the right. This is an easy exercise that your kindergartners will find easy to follow. Ask them to push their hips to the front and hold them there for 15 seconds, then to the back, and hold for 15 seconds.
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