Carpet Square Challenge

Family Home Evening Resource Book, (1997), 311


It has been said that playing and moving are the full-time jobs of little children, just as daily work is the full-time job of adults. And, indeed, play is one of the first ways children learn to use their bodies. Families can help little ones by spending time helping them to both identify body parts and to learn how the body and its parts can move. It is essential for a healthy, growing child to feel good about his body. This activity gives young children problem-solving experiences as they try to place different parts of their body on a carpet square, newspaper, reed mat, or other kind of mat. Teenagers and adults can also join in to get a workout, as well as to have fun.

Preparation

Get a carpet sample, reed mat, hand towel, or something similar for each family member. Choose a space inside or outside where each person can move on and around his carpet sample without bumping into anyone. Prepare in advance a lengthy list of movement challenges (see sample list) to verbally give to participants. Start with simple problems and gradually increase the difficulty.

Activity

Have each family member find his own space and position himself with his carpet square on the floor or grass. Have the family member leading the activity call out body parts to be placed on the carpet sample. By calling out opposites such as front—back, bottom—stomach, right hip—left hip, the leader can intensify the physical activity. By calling out body parts quickly one after another, this activity can turn into a vigorous game. The leader can also call out two body parts to be put on the carpet square at the same time. Giving each family member a chance to be the leader helps them learn body parts and allows them to observe the many different ways family members may be solving problems.

Try to challenge the problem-solving abilities of family members. The following are sample instructions:

Simple

Complex

More Complex

Nose

Right hip

Right ear and left knee

Top of head

Left foot

Left shoulder and right foot

Chin

Left hip

Top of head and right hand

Back of head

Right foot

Left elbow and right knee

Feet

Left shoulder

Left ear

Shoulders

Hands

Right ankle

Right knee

Elbows

Knees

Right hand

Right ear

Ankles

Bottom

Left elbow

Left knee

Wrists

Stomach

Left hand

Right shoulder

Forehead

Back

Right elbow

Left ankle

Toes

Chest

Fingers

Caution: Keep it simple, lively, and fun for small children. Remember, learning right and left takes time. Be patient in helping them learn.

Additional Activities

  1. 1.

    Try these challenges on top of the carpet sample.

    • Place one body part on and one part off the carpet. Find five different ways to solve this problem using different body parts and different positions each time.

    • Place two body parts on and two off the carpet. Find five different ways to solve this problem.

    • Place three body parts on and one off the carpet. Find five different ways to solve this problem.

    • Place four body parts on and two off the carpet. Find three different ways to solve this problem.

    • Place five body parts on and one off the carpet. Find three different ways to solve this problem.

    • Place six body parts on and two off the carpet. Find two different ways to solve this problem.

  2. 2.

    Try these challenges over the carpet. Move your body through the air from one side of the carpet to the other in these ways:

    • Hop in three different ways.

    • Jump in three different ways.

    • Step in four different ways.

    • Leap in three different ways.

    • Change your body support from your feet to your hands and back to your feet in two different ways.

  3. 3.

    Play the game “Simon Says” by calling out body parts to be placed on the carpet sample.

  4. 4.

    Create a new game your family can play using carpet samples.

  5. 5.

    Lie on the floor and spell your name, one letter at a time, by forming the letters with your body.

  6. 6.

    Make different numbers with your body while lying on the floor.

  7. 7.

    With two or three family members on a team, see which team can make numbers on the floor the most quickly, for example, 25 for two participants, 147 for three participants.