Physical Education · Practical Life

Walking the Line

No, I am not referring to Johnny Cash.
I am talking about a nice Montessori activity that comes under the Practical Life section Control of Movement.  To read about the different, traditional ways of introducing this and extending it, visit the AMI website’s description here.

The basics involve the child learning to control their body as they follow a line on the ground.  It helps improve balance and control.  Generally it is an ellipse, but as I was doing this at home I did the best with what I have on hand.
In this house we have a pale carpet which goes through the living areas.  We have a door from the living room into the central entry hall, which also has a door into the dining room.  The dining room then joins the living room through double glass sliding doors.  What this means is – I could construct a long, slightly ellipse-like walk the line circuit.

So, here is a view of my home made “line”.
The Line
This is the line coming from the hallway into the dining room.  It continues to the right at both ends and enters the living room from both sets of doors.
The line is simply black electrical tape so it is easily removed and should leave no residue when done with.  It flexes reasonably well I’ve found, so can make slightly wonky but curved lines.

And here is Miss Oh Waily taking her first walk around on it.
Walking the Line
We haven’t yet introduced it formally, with music and equidistant walking.  I am not completely sure if Master Oh Waily could manage it and that has made me a bit tentative about doing it with the two of them together.
Still, if he doesn’t get the opportunity he won’t ever manage.

Miss Oh can happily walk the line, and is probably almost competent at the second step – heel to toe walking.  The third step may be a bit hit and miss.  I’m not sure if I’m ready to clean up the water spills, but I’m sure she will be able to walk with an object, or even two, in her hands.  I can’t wait until we get to balancing items on her head.  I must look to buy a small bean bag or two for the purpose.
Naturally you are not restricted to the extension exercises mentioned at the AMI page.  Extensions to consider are altering tempo, adding turning, obstacles, taking verbal commands, “creative” walking (like an elephant, a mouse, etc), catching & throwing.  If you can imagine it and it requires physical control, then it can be added in to your child’s repertoire.

So no more wimping out here.  Next time we do the formal version I will write an update to let you know how we all get on.

What do you do with your children to encourage their co-ordination and control of movement?

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