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Palmetto Basics: Children should explore through movement and play

Editor’s note: This is the fifth installment in our six-part feature defining The Palmetto Basics, which includes tips on easy, practical ways to bring them to life in your home.

Children just can’t sit still – and they aren’t supposed to.

“Little ones are born movers,” Marian Vischer, Communications Director for Pickens County First Steps, said. “It’s so important to honor that and encourage that.”

Explore Through Movement and Play is the fourth of five Palmetto Basics. The Palmetto Basics is a statewide campaign that gives parents, grandparents and caregivers the basics of early learning for children before birth to age 5, with an emphasis on birth – 3 years.

“The developmental milestones in the first year of life are filled with movement milestones,” Vischer said.

Milestones like rolling over, scooting, crawling and learning to walk all involve becoming mobile, but those activities are about so much more than moving little arms and legs.

“Science shows us that there’s a reason children have so much energy and are wired to move,” Vischer said. “For a brain to fully mature, it needs stimulation through movement. Physical activity and a child’s natural curiosity to touch and have sensory experiences – they are not just building a strong body. They are building healthy brains.”

Engaging children in movement can be fun for parents, too, though it can often require mountains of patience.

“It’s about living everyday with your child knowing that they learn by interacting with the world around them,” Vischer said.

Set healthy boundaries so children don’t get hurt and resist the temptation to give in to screen time as an activity substitute. That’s tough, but worth it.

“Exploration is not only normal, it’s important,” Vischer said. “It can be exhausting when kids begin to move but know that is a short season. The world is brand new to them. That season does not last long, but it’s important work.”

Make sure babies have regular tummy time.

Play peek-a-boo.

Hold toys so babies have to reach for them.

Let babies safely explore through rolling or crawling.

Roll a ball back and forth with your toddler.

Make a simple obstacle course with pillows and other safe objects so toddlers can explore.

Take walks together and spend time playing outdoors.

Use position words like “over, under, near, far, through” and “around.”

Learn more and get more tips at http:// explore-through-movement-and-play.

The Greenville County Library System has launched the Little Learners Club, a challenge designed especially for preschool children that encourages participation in Palmetto Basics-inspired activities. Pick up a Little Learners Club activity log at any Greenville County Library System location. The activity log is used to track participation in the suggested activities. No rush to finish. Just complete by kindergarten. And then, bring the log into any GCLS location to pick up prizes (a Little Learners Club bag and five buttons) one representing each of the Palmetto Basics. Learn more at www.greenville