Thursday, September 08, 2005

Rowdy Games

Since we're stuck inside all day, it's essential we burn off some of their boundless energy before something or someone is seriously injured. Let's shove the table to one side of the dining room, and pull out all the gross-motor games I can think of. We play "Move Across the Room", something I made up but which is hardly unique, in which they have to move as a certain animal, vehicle, bug, across the room. (We hop like kangaroos, we buzz like bees, slither like snakes, race like fire engines, we whhoosh like the wind... As many variations as I have imagination.) We play "Popcorn". Know it? All the children squat down on their haunches into teeny balls. They are popcorn kernels. Then you chant,

You put the oil in the pot, And you let it get HOT. You put the popcorn in, And you start to grin. Sizzle, sizzle, sizzle, sizzle Sizzle, Sizzle.... POP!!!
And then you have five bouncing, thundering, giggling toddler-sized popcorn puffs shaking the foundations. Much fun. With the right group of kids, you can play "Sticky Popcorn", a variation in which they must bounce together whenever they bump into someone, until they're one big giggling popcorn ball. Ring around the Rosey, of course, with the between verse reprieve:
The Cows are in the Meadow, eating buttercups. Along comes a bee, and they all jump UP!
Then there's Sleeping Bunnies. The children lay down and pretend to be asleep, as only toddler do: eyes scrunched tight, every limb quivering with excited tension.
Bunnies sleeping till it's nearly noon. Come, let us wake them with a merry tune. Oh, so still. Are they ill? Then you clap like mad and holler like a banshee, Wake up, Little Bunnies!!! They all leap to their feet, and proceed to bounce, as the adult sings: Hop little bunnies, hop, hop, hop; Hop little bunnies, hop, hop, hop; Hop...and...stop.
And at "stop" they all flop to the ground for verse two. And finally, "Smelly Skunk", which doesn't allow for much motion, but makes up for it in outrageous noise levels. The first verse is sung, very, very quietly. Whispered, really. First and only verse:
I'm a little smelly skunk, Sleeping under someone's bunk. Nobody want to sleep with me, I'm as smelly as can be. Peeeeeeeuwwwww! Then, between verses, this is chanted: Second verse, same as the first. A little bit louder, a little bit worse!
Back you go to the verse, a little louder. With each repeat, it gets louder and louder and LOUDER until, with the final verse, they are screaming their wee heards off. Often we have the rhythm instruments out for this last one, and are beating, shaking, and rattling till the windows rattle in response. Way fun, this one! Several more verses, this time in reverse: "A little bit softer, a little bit worse", till they're whispering again. Then a few more quieter games to bring the wildness down, followed by a couple of books and some snuggling on the couch to entirely restore the peace. Stuff some food into them. And then it's naptime!! Not such a bad way to spend a morning...


Blogger Candace said...

Dammit all to hell, why don't I live in Ontario? I honestly think that you are the only care provider in the WORLD with whom I would entrust my children full-time. Not even my mother gets that distinction.

I'm sure *your* children know how lucky they are; I'll bet dollars to daisies that you were/are one fantastic mommy.

9/08/2005 12:01:00 p.m.  
Blogger Stephen (aka Q) said...

Smelly skunk is lots of fun for the neighbours too, if they happen to be home during the daytime.

9/08/2005 12:40:00 p.m.  
Blogger Mary P. said...

Misfit: Thank you! That's very sweet of you. Do my children appreciate me as they should? Goodness knows...

Q: I think the neighbours were all out today. If they weren't, they now know all the words to Smelly Skunk, lucky them!

9/08/2005 04:37:00 p.m.  
Blogger Candace said...

I just had a child experience I MUST share.

Sophie has a friend over for a playdate. Sophie asks for Goldfish and a drink. The friend says, "Goldfish! Goldfish! Goldfish!" I say, "We have to ask for things in our house in order to get them." Blank stare. She does it, eventually, and when she wants more, she comes into the study and stands staring at me, holding out the empty bowl.

I ignore her.

Then Sophie comes in and asks for more drink. I say, "Good asking, Sophie. That's how we get what we want in this house."

The friend gets the hint and asks. But no "please".


9/08/2005 04:48:00 p.m.  
Blogger Mary P. said...

Misfit: Two things about that child. The first is that manners are obviously not expected at her own home, for which she cannot be blamed. The second, though, is that she knows what they are, because she can produce them upon request, and chooses not to. Moreover, she can stand silently with the bowl, and then withhold part of what she knows is expected, and DARE you to make an issue of it. For which she most certainly can be held responsible.

Grrrrrr, indeed.

9/08/2005 05:35:00 p.m.  
Blogger Heather said...

Lets wake them with a merry tune...

I can just imagine my kids singing that at 6am. I am impressed too. Sometimes I don't encourage bouncing off the walls type stuff because I fear it will spiral out of control. Maybe I have to rethink my approach on this one!

9/08/2005 08:13:00 p.m.  
Blogger Susan said...

Like Misfit, all I can say is dammit woman move closer to me! (Misfit has to move, too, and Heather as well.) Except of course I've seen the photos of where you live and it rocks, so don't. We can all come to you!

Those games are BRILIANT. I will be teaching them to the boys TODAY.

Thank god you're out there.

9/09/2005 06:35:00 a.m.  
Anonymous Mom said...

I really enjoy reading your blogs, but it seems like you post while you have children awake. If you're such a fabulous childcare provider, why are you using the computer when you are caring for children? If they are all napping, I think that is fine, but otherwise, I don't think it is appropriate. Just my thoughts.

9/09/2005 06:57:00 a.m.  
Blogger Mary P. said...

Heather: When you start the rowdy stuff with them, you have to have an exit strategy. "Smelly Skunk" is one such, because you wind them right up, and then you wind them right back down again. Otherwise: complete and total bedlam, unceasing!

Susan: Thanks. The first I modified from an activity in the kindergarten curriculum; the others were gleaned from daycare centres and playgroups.

mom: At first I thought you were my mom, who just got this address a short while ago, but now I realize you're somebody else's, probably a much younger somebody else's!

You raise a valid concern. Not to worry, I can blog and still be a damned good childcare provider. In fact, I do the bulk of my blogging during naptimes, but save much of what I do as drafts. Then the next day, I call them up, change the time and date stamps, and publish them. So I'm not blogging as much during their waking hours as it may seem. I do this because readers like posts at intervals.

However, I freely confess that I do spend time at the computer, which is in the same room as the children, when the children are with me. Not hours and hours, but enough at least to pop in and post a draft.

In fact, since this concern touches on part of my bedrock approach to childcare, I think it warrants its own post. Can't guarantee when I'll post it, but it will be upcoming.

9/09/2005 07:44:00 a.m.  
Anonymous Matthew said...

So, that popcorn song... Is there a microwave version?

Something like...

You put the bag in the microwave
'cause minutes you will save
You hit the button that says "popcorn"
and wait for the horn

Hum, Hum, whirl, whirl
Hum, Hum, whirl, whirl


9/09/2005 10:44:00 a.m.  
Blogger Candace said...

Oh, dear. One of "those" moms who spend every single waking moment entertaining and educating her children! Oh the horror at the possibility that a child may have to occupy his or her own time!

Sorry, Mary. I know it's your blog and you already addressed it, but damn if "mom" didn't touch a nerve.

(And let's not forget that Mary has been doing this for years and years and years. Somehow I think the parents are quite satisfied with the care she provides.)

9/09/2005 12:14:00 p.m.  
Blogger McSwain said...

I'm lovin' the games and advice and funniness so much that I put a link to you on my site- hope that's okay! I think my six-year-old would even like a few of these games, even though he'd beg me not to tell any of his buddies. :)

9/09/2005 12:37:00 p.m.  
Blogger Mary P. said...

Matthew: I love it! Very creative. And just imagine the actions that would go along with the "whirl, whirl" line. Perhaps a game best played outdoors.

Misfit: My very own knight in shining armour!

Cheryl: If you made it a game about exploding rotten eggs, or something, I bet it would be acceptable. (Pop! Pop! Peeuw! Peeuw!)
Of course I don't mind if you link to me. It's probably time for me to update my blogroll, too.

OPEN QUESTION: What do those things mean/do that I see on other blogs, saying "blogroll me"? I'm always afraid to click on it lest I be committed to something. What is its purpose? What does it do?


9/09/2005 05:04:00 p.m.  
Blogger McSwain said...

Go to You can set up a free account, and either access it from the web or put it on your page. Busymom has a blogroller blogroll (that sounds funny) on her side bar. If you click on "blogroll me" on someones blog, it will automatically add the blog you're looking at to your list from

9/09/2005 05:53:00 p.m.  
Blogger Angela said...

This is a late comment... but I love this... I will hafta share them with my kids, either tomorrow or sometime next week...

12/16/2005 12:34:00 a.m.  

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