Saturday, November 5, 2022

Safari Week: Preschool Gymnastics Lesson Plans

 It's a Jungle in Here!!! If you are looking for a roaring fun time with your little monkeys, this is the lesson plan for you! 

Since my budget is essentially zero for planning each of the theme weeks, I enlist my kids to help with some DIY decorations. Thankfully I have some super crafty kids that thrive on assignments like this. They made some construction paper animals which we attached to a sign that said "It's a Jungle in Here" on large brown packing paper. 

They also made some construction paper loop snakes. 

For the viewing window we cut out construction paper letters and wrote "Do NOT feed the Lions".

I then went through the home and gathered some safari themed puppets, stuffed animals, and puzzles to incorporate into the lesson plan. While we were able to gather everything we needed, I also included some links in case you fall short of supplies.

The end result was a super cute room that coupled with a creative lesson plan was wildly successful.

So let's get to the lesson plans! The key to this (and really any of my preschool gymnastics lesson plans) is to be super silly and make lots of noise. It certainly sounded like a jungle in the gym!

My favorite part of the warm up was our Roll a Block activity. I pasted print outs on the side of a cardboard box, but you could also use a Pocket Cube. They would roll the cube and then complete the animal exercises. The activities we came up with were:

Alligator Crawl (army crawl) 

Gorilla walk (squatted sideways walk, swinging arms)

Cheetah Runs (sprints)

Lion Prowl (where they would crawl slowly then pounce)

Zebra kicks (donkey kicks)

Giraffe Reach Down Stretch (reaching up and then reaching opposite hand down to opposite leg and repeating on the other side)

After we stretched and did some other warm up exercises it was time for our floor circuit. We set floor up in a large square so it is easy for the children to move from one exercise to the next and for me to easily access each of the children if they need help. 

I taped animal tracks to dots and arranged them in a hopscotch pattern. They then log rolled down two cheese mats, jumped up onto and rolled off of a panel mat, practiced levers by picking up stuffed jungle animals, and more!

I try to always have a bonus station where the preschoolers can go when it is not their turn. To go along with the safari theme I made a watering hole using the donut mat, pit blocks, and plastic animals. They could join the animals at the watering hole and jump in it, walk around it, plank over it, and more! This was a huge hit!

For bars, we always have one station where the bars is against the wall with a wedge mat so the children can practice walking their feet up and either candlesticks or pullovers. I made a paper chain snake and taped it above the wedge mat. The child would walk their feet up the wedge and then when they got close to the snake I'd say, watch out, its' going to bite you, and direct them to pull their feet back.

To include the safari theme on the rest of the bars rotation, they swung like a monkey to kick down a wedge mat, swung on the rings like tarzan over a hula hoop filled with stuffed animals, walked across a swinging bridge suspended from the p-bars, and more!

We had four different beam stations. The first was a safari puzzle walk. All of the puzzle pieces to a Jumbo Knob Safari Puzzle were placed on a beam with the puzzle board at the other end. Starting at the puzzle board, they would walk out to the first puzzle piece, pick it up, hold it above their head, turn around, and walk back to place it in the puzzle board. They would continue this until they completed the puzzle.

For the next beam, we made a tigers den out of wedge mats and a tiger sheet draped across. They tiger crawled (aka bear crawled) down the beam into the tigers den.

On the third beam we placed safari animals to jump, leap, and/or step over.

For the final beam station we placed dots with animal tracks on either side of the beam and they used strong arms on the beam to jump their feet from side to side over the beam.

Thanks for stopping by! I hope to share more inspirational preschool gymnastics themes and lesson plans!

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