EDITION FOUR: Bouncing Back with BBBS Resources for our Youth & Families!

  • Our young people and the entire community is facing a lot of disruption right now. It’s important that our youth know they are cared for by many people! Social distancing can lead to social isolation. We want people to be safe AND feel a connection with others so we’re encouraging matches to stay in touch!
  • Community-based matches are encouraged to stay in contact via phone, text, and video. This is an important time to stay in communication with people we care about!  
  • Beyond school walls, matches can still be pen pals. Email a note to your Program Coordinator and we can forward that to the family’s mailing address or parent’s email.

This week BBBS thought we could all Bounce Back together and have some Fun Exploring with a Focus on STEM! 

What is STEM?

As a parent, you may not be as familiar with STEM as a professional educator. You’ve heard that STEM is important, and there are probably several STEM schools in our district, but what does that mean?

STEM is an acronym for four interdisciplinary topics: science, technology, engineering, and math.

STEM activities are meant to be open-ended and allow children to explore science and come to their own conclusions. Below is a wonderful website where you can find many activities! BBBS is sharing just a few with you! 

Here are two building, STEM activities you can do with materials you already have at home. The key to innovation and success is to repeat the activities several times, discussing strategy, what worked and didn’t work, and how you will improve it next time. Remember to let the kids be in charge, and hold yourself back from interfering with their creative process. In all of the challenges, kids are invited to alter the materials in any way: tearing, folding, rolling, bending, etc.

1. PAPER TOWER

Materials: stack of paper from recycling

Instructions: In 5 minutes, build a structure as tall as you can using only paper. After the first attempt, discuss how rolling and folding the paper might help.

2.  BUOYANCY BOATS

Materials: 12″ x 12″ foil square, coins or small pebbles

Instructions: Form the foil into a boat, and see how many coins or pebbles it can hold while floating in water. Experiment with different boat designs to see which holds the most weight.

Looking for a way to connect with your child while having fun and getting some exercise? Try partner yoga!

Practicing partner yoga is a great way to facilitate communication and connection,” says Mira Binzen, co-founder of Global Family Yoga. “It teaches kids that they can accomplish exciting things when they put their effort into teamwork.”

Below is a sampling of some of Fun  favorite yoga poses for kids – and their parents. Try the poses below on their own, or as part of a longer movement practice with your kids. Also see below for an  online course on teaching and practicing yoga with children of all ages.

Tadahhh! Two Popular Partner Yoga Poses for Parents and Kids

For the first pose, stand with your knees slightly bent, hold hands or wrists with your child, and have them step up onto your thighs. From there your child can gently lean back and lift up through their heart with their arms straight. Once you both feel stable in this position, have a little fun by playing with balance! Let go of one arm at a time and open out to the side.

Next, try a double downward facing dog. This one works best with a parent in the base position, or with two kids and a parent spotting. Start by coming into downward facing dog, have your child step their feet between your hands, and place their hands right in front of yours. From there, have them step their feet up one at a time to your lower back with their toes turned under, heels pressing back, hips lifting up towards the sky. They can hang in this position as long as they like, keeping their head, neck, and shoulders relaxed. This supported handstand is not only fun for them, but also provides a nice stretch in the lower back for the base!

Kids’ Favorite Yoga Pose: Lizard on a Rock

For a more therapeutic option, try a lizard on a rock. This pose can be done with two kids, or with an adult and a child in either the rock position or the lizard position. To be the rock, start by coming into child’s pose, with your forearms on the ground for support if needed. Next, have the lizard carefully lie down back to back with the rock, with their hips low, and head resting in the crook of the rock’s neck. The lizard can have their legs stretched out long, or keep the soles of their feet planted on the floor and knees bent if that’s more comfortable. If a child is the lizard, they can rest their hips on the rock’s lower back, and if an adult is the lizard, they can rest their hips on the ground before curling back over the rock. This pose is calming and grounding for the rock, and a nice, gentle heart opener for the lizard.

Life Is But a Dream – Row Boat and Other Partner Yoga Poses for Kids

Lastly, stretch things out with a rowboat. Sit facing each other with your legs in a wide straddle. If two children of similar height are doing this together, they can press the soles of their feet together. For a parent and child, have your child press the soles of their feet to the inside of your legs wherever it’s most comfortable. Next, hold hands, and take turns rowing the boat! When one person pulls back, their partner will get a nice stretch in their back and legs. Once both rowers have had their turn, try a side stretch from this position. Shake hands with your partner, then reach the other hand up and over to the opposite toes. Pull your partner in towards you and turn your gaze up to the sky, adding a little twist. Hold for as long as you want, breathing deeply, and then switch sides to even things out.  

Once you’ve got these poses down, build up your repertoire and create a larger movement practice with your children!

Interested in learning more about kids yoga and how to incorporate it into your family life? Check out our online course with Mira Binzen: Yoga for Calm and Stable Kids.

Have a Wonderful Week!! Big Brothers Big Sisters cares for you, just remember we are BIGGER TOGETHER during this time of transition! BE ENCOURAGED!

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