Tag Archives: Parkour

A Flurry of Activity

For the last week the weather here has been marvellous. I spent almost all of last weekend outdoors working on the yard and garden.  I’m hoping that the forecasted rain will hold off long enough that I can get some soil to complete the project this weekend.

This week the preschoolers and I have been spending all morning outside.  I feel sorry for the older children and the parents who must spend a large portion of their day indoors at work or school.  Even when our schedule dictates that we must be inside I see the children gathered around the open window, feeling the warm breeze and longing to be outside again.

The mornings have been cool and while some of the children (and I) wear shorts and T-shirts others have continued to choose to don sweaters before heading out to play.  After only a few minutes of active play in my South facing yard the sweaters are abandoned.  I’ve even had to open the umbrella and put up the sun shade to provide some shelter from the heat – I’m not complaining.

The precision jumping and follow the leader games have continued to be popular.  We’ve rearranged the stumps to form two circles – one on each side of the hill platform.  This creates a figure eight obstacle course.  The spacing between the tree stumps has been expanded since all of the children had mastered the smaller spacing used last year. Jumping from the platform to the logs is a new challenge.

Some of the children are unsure about jumping the distance from one log to the next so they complete the circles by jumping off one stump to the gravel between logs and then step up on the next log.  I was interested to notice that after some success at traveling around the circle, a few of the children began pushing their physical limits and trying to jump the huge distance across the circle.

The distance covered is impressive – so much further than what could be accomplished last summer.  I’m excited to see what new skills this summer will bring.

Parkour

Most people seemed surprised when I mention Parkour and childcare together.  I’m sure that they imagine dangerous stunts and reckless behaviour that is completely inappropriate for a childcare environment.

To be honest, that was my reaction too when my teenage son first engaged in this activity.  I warned him never to practice within view of any of the children or even talk about it when they were present.

Then, I spent some time watching him practice and listening to him and researching the topic on my own…and I changed my mind.

Sure it entails running, jumping, climbing and a bit of acrobatics but the focus is on control and precision.  Instead of being competitive it involves collaboration, responsibility and play.  In fact, the more I learned about it the more I thought – this is a great activity for children!

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not saying I’d encourage toddlers to jump off buildings but the basic skills training can be adapted for all ages – and they think it is fun to exercise.

All summer my son has been playing in the yard with us and showing the children some of the skills and training he can do in our small space.  The children are practicing and learning about spatial awareness, balance and their own physical abilities.  They are setting personal goals, problem solving and overcoming obstacles.  It’s perfect!

This three-year-old lands like this every time but never falls back — she has learned to lean forward and balance.

Even the two year old can balance on one leg on a log.  What fun!