Movement is the basis of learning from the time we are born. A baby has an internal drive to work against gravity to get their body up and moving, and in doing the physical movement work, the baby is learning about the environment, how things feel, how far to reach to touch a toy, how to make sounds and words, and how objects fit together. Movement is hugely important and helps the learning process.
As kids get older and they are in school and learning, and memorizing information, studies have shown that pairing movement with instruction helps the learning of the information. When my son has to memorize something for class, he heads outside with his basketball and hits the ball against a wall while he commits the information to memory. He figured out on his own that this was the best way for him to memorize information.
When kids are just beginning to learn their letters, many teachers pair movements with the letters and it helps the children remember those letters and sounds. A great tool that we can add to our toolbox are the ABCs of Movement cards and the ABCs of active learning.
The movement cards are printable cards that have a gross motor movement for each letter of the alphabet. The ABCs of active learning is a downloadable book that provides a play based format to introduce the alphabet. Each letter is introduced while the children explore, move, create, and engage with a story. Each letter includes a sensory motor aspect for learning and experiencing the letters.
Angela Hanscom’s book Balanced and Barefoot goes into great detail about why children must move and explore in order to facilitate learning.
Some of my favorite movement activities that are easy to slip extra learning into are:
How do you incorporate physical movement with learning?