The Suitcase Lady


August 30, 2016, 9:08 pm

I spent a fair amount of time this summer standing on one leg like a flamingo. Ditto for flapping my pretend wings in hummingbird style.

The summer library reading theme for children this year was On Your Mark, Get Set, Read! I always create a program to coincide with the theme. My idea was to highlight seven animals, tell amazing feats these animals perform and then ask the children attending the programs to duplicate the animal actions. In other words, get the kids moving.

Every teacher worthy of the name knows that getting from 6 to 160 children moving simultaneously is challenging. Chaos could erupt like spontaneous combustion.

Now, at summer’s end, I am happy to report that the hundreds of children I met were all wonderful kids. They followed my one firm rule,”start moving when I say ‘go’ and stop IMMEDIATELY when I say ‘stop’. We burned up millions of calories together and had fun doing it.

If you want to insert some zaniness into your work out routine, or if you want to get a child exercising, here are a few things to try.

Hummingbirds flap their wings 70 times a second. Every child realized they couldn’t beat that. So we tucked our hands under our armpits and counted how many times we could flap our ‘wings’ in a minute. We recorded a range of from 70 to 160 times. Hummingbirds are humbling!

Flamingoes are famous for their balance, even being able to sleep while standing on one leg. What appears to be their knee is actually their ankle (the knee is high up on their leg hidden by body feathers) and the ankle bends the opposite way our knee bends, feet face forward. We checked out our balance by standing for a minute on one leg. Some of us teetered a bit, but almost everybody could do it.

No one could beat the animal who is the highest jumper in comparison to its height. That would be the spittlebug that can jump 100 times its height. Most kids grasped the fact that they wouldn’t be able to do that. But when I asked if anyone thought they could jump one time their height, I always got a few eager volunteers. They now realize that they are not yet Olympic quality jumpers!

I could think of no way I could get an entire room of kids running as fast as cheetahs, so we exercised our creativity and made origami cheetahs. Then the kids ran home.

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