A good game of footie is enough to ease the stress of the week.
Even more so, a bunch of giggles and a truckload of joyduring a football class with your toddler, is more than enough to make you completely forget the things that annoyed you (including the things said toddler did) that week.
Sport just is incredible in so many ways, but since we’re at it, here are five reasons why everyone and their kids should play sport….
🏃The endorphins released while playing sport are similar to those you get after eating your favourite dessert!
🏃Sport with your kid is very physical and kids THRIVE off of the intentional, loving physical touch of their parents.
🏃Sport offers quick wins, whereas life doesn’t always. Like the goal your little one scores or the bright smile on his face as he evades the crocodile that is trying to capture his tail.
🏃Two birds with one stone: your toddler burns energy in time for a nice, long nap and you lose a stone after 10 weeks of running after him hehe. Get it? :p
🏃Exercise is just really good for your health and your little one’s health and sport is essentially play so you’re doing many excellent things all at once.
Help us add to this list. We know there are many other reasons. Tell us what you love about sports in the comments.
These are the criteria that I base my choices on:
1. Subject area – I looked for the best app in each subject area (literacy, foreign language and Maths). I chose one per area. I believe it is better to focus a kid’s attention on one app per subject as repetition and familiarity helps with learning.
2. Simplicity – I prefer apps that use a simple approach to teaching — offering effective solutions to learning without the clutter of the average online offering.
3. Effectiveness – It’s not about the flash for me, it’s about the outcome. Is my child learning something at the end of interacting with the app? Then it’s a YES
4. Monsters – I have an affinity for monsters (like our very own Wacky), they are particularly versatile and a nice break from the old cow, dog and cat 🙂
5. Affordability – These apps are either free or partly free, allowing you to give it a go before you invest to see whether your child is learning.
1. DuoLingo / Foreign Language – Help your child learn a second (or third language). This app has been tried and tested and they’ve developed ways to effectively teach language to humans of all ages and levels. 2. Teach Your Monster to Read / Reading and Spelling – Help your child learn to read through phonics, encouraged by rewards, adventures that you progress through and lots of cool monsters. I love that they have only a few games that they repeat, so that children can master them while also learning important letter sounds.
3. Piano Maestro / Piano and Music – Help your child learn the basics of piano and start playing simple songs. You do need a piano first of course.
4. Khan Academy Kids / Maths & Social Emotional Learning – This app is great for many things (including literacy and general knowledge). I’ve been a fan of Khan Academy and its founder since the beginning. They perfect the psychology of learning, offering a lot of repetition, clear instructions and perfectly-crafted activities to help your one learn effectively. There is a lot of content so you have to find the ones you think work the best but it is very easy to navigate and all activities are short.
5. Wobble and Kick Online / Sports and Motor Skills – There’s aerobics, yoga, pilates, music, dancing, ballet, reading, spelling, stories and nursery rhymes online and then there’s toddler football. This app is great for getting your child into sport and football alongside a community of other parents and little ones doing the same.
What are you favourite apps? Share yours in the comments below…
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children under the age of 18 months should have no passive screen time and children up to five years of age should have a limited screen time of less than 1 hour a day. This is hard to hear during a lockdown like what we are experiencing now during the Coronavirus outbreak as we are all looking for ways to entertain our children while they are not in childcare. However, reminding ourselves of the pros and cons of screen time and taking the time to find a healthy balance now, could really help our children over the longer term.
Passive screen time is where children are simply consuming media, not interacting with it. This type of screen time is strongly discouraged for very young children because it can be overstimulating and impact their behaviour negatively, while not teaching them much. Given that the recommendation by professional bodies is to limit screen time for children under 5 to less than one hour, it is all the more important to consider what they are watching during that hour, and to ensure that it is a mixture, if not majorly, active screen time.
Active screen time involves creating things, learning by themselves and/or co-learning (alongside their parents). Although there are countless apps, games and videos online that appear to be contributing to learning and creativity, many of them actually do not teach our children effectively and actually fall in the category of passive screen time and are wasting the precious minutes they could be using screens in a positive way.
In choosing the media our kids consume during the limited time each day, here are a few things we should consider:
1. Quality — is the program/ media high quality content, not in terms of HQ but in terms of how it is put together, presented and created specifically to help children in key areas of development? The ratings on it should help you to decipher this. Also, before showing it to your children, you should have a go at it yourself.
2. Type of Interaction — does the program/media encourage your child to sit and hold the screen for long periods (which is known to impact their posture and even cause bone growth) or does the program encourage them to be more active, read more books, practise their writing, bond with their parents/friends or develop their confidence in expressing their emotions or connecting with others?
3. Impact on Behaviour — how does your child behave after exposure to the content? Do they have a tantrum? Do they seem more engaged offline or less engaged? Is it helping them to listen better and improving their attention and focus or is it decreasing their attention span?
4. Addictiveness — is your child crying and begging for more while holding onto the screen for dear life? Do they get sucked in for the whole hour or more? When something is educational and well-made, children are likely to be happy to part with it as their brain is challenged to learn. It is similar to how we adults experience learning — we switch off when we feel our brain is maxed out. This way children can enjoy the media while also being happy to part with it after a reasonable and healthy amount of time.
5. Parent Empowerment — does the program help you as the parents to get involved and guide your child’s learning? Does it build your confidence in learning online? Do you learn anything from it yourself – this is an added bonus!
All of these things have been considered in the creation of the Wobble and Kick Online Team, where we don’t only teach football successfully online, we encourage children to be active, to persevere in their learning, to connect to others and to learn alongside their parents (you learn something too). Check it out, it’s FREE to join. We would love for you to consider us for your active screen time activity 🙂
Share your favourite screentime activities for 1-5 year olds in the comments below…
We’ve all been forced to use online tools more, whether that is FaceTime, Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams or learning apps. At first, for many of us, it was just a means of waiting out the tide, until we can return to normalcy, use tech the way we were before, and just do life the way we are accustomed. Yet, as time has moved on, we are beginning to realise that we can’t go back to the way we were before. Life has changed forever and we have a choice: embrace the change or resist it long enough for it to be forced upon us.
The reality is that what we are experiencing now — the intensity of tech as I like to call it — will be the norm for our children.
The only reason it makes us feel uncomfortable is because it is new and we are forced to develop new habits, which always take a while. But by the time our kids are teens, having tech pervade every area of their lives will not be a new habit, it will be a way of life. So rather than resist it, how about we take this opportunity we have now to find ways to adapt and to learn to use tech and to teach our kids to learn to use it (as it is their future) in the best, healthiest ways possible.
How about we teach our children now, no matter how young, how to use tech to empower others, build strong communities, learn more about the world and engage in a purposeful, positive way.
Alongside that, how about we take the time to teach our children how to have a healthy, balanced relationship with the tech that will inevitably be a big part of their lives AND enhance their lives in so many beautiful ways.
In his interview on the impact Covid-19 has had on virtual learning for TED Radio Hour, Richard Culatta, CEO of the International Society for Technology in Education, said, ‘we’ll go back to school with a realisation that… kids are dual citizens. They live in two worlds and they always will in the future.’
He agrees that ‘learning is an inherently social activity’, which is often the reason why so many of us resist learning online.
He goes onto say that ‘content is a thin veneer of the overall education experience and if the content is the only part that is made available it’s just not effective learning.’ Maybe many of us are resisting learning online, especially with our kids, because learning, for us, is not just about what we learn but WHO we learn it with.
This is why, when Covid-19 forced my toddler football academy, Wobble and Kick, to shut down with only days notice, I didn’t just jump on the live-class-on-Zoom bandwagon like every other toddler activity provider. Instead, I built the Wobble and Kick Online Team — a space where parents can learn together, connect and encourage each other.
Once I began to build this online team I realised its beauty and that actually, this is something I should have been doing way before the lockdown. I realised that this is our kids’ future!
‘This device that I hold in my pocket is not just for playing games or calling people, it’s a tool for making more sense out of the world around us,’ says Richard Culcatta.
Just look at how it’s brought people together during this time, kept us informed, kept our children entertained, taught our children and helped us help each other through these unprecedented times.
So how about we take the time to help nurture our children’s relationship with tech from young, harness the best of it, help them learn to use, navigate and gain knowledge from it, and be confident citizens of their dual worlds — the real world and the virtual world.
I would love to have you join me in pioneering an online learning community for kids from 1-5 years old and their parents. Request to join Wobble and Kick Online Team.
I knew I wanted to play football from a very young age but I didn’t get the opportunity to learn it until I was 11. When I went to play in America, all of my teammates were trained from much earlier than I was and I noticed that it gave them an extra uumpf of confidence and assuredness on the field as well as more refined skills. Knowing that, I ambitiously started a football club for toddlers. Why not start them as early as ONE YEARS OLD?
Well, even I was skeptical of my own crazy idea but two years on I am a true believer and have proof that:
👶Toddlers are little scientists with an amazing capacity for learning complex things quickly!
👶Toddlers learn as much as they are exposed to aka they learn what you teach them!
👶Toddlers are AWESOME to teach because they are such keen and enthusiastic learners who smile more than any other learner I have worked with!
👶A parent’s belief in and perseverance with a child’s learning makes ALL the difference!
👶Toddlers CAN play football..It’s way easier these days to put them in front of a screen or let them play in the park while we text. But if we parents want to challenge our children’s capacity to learn and be great at what they love, practise, repetition, perseverance and belief are key.
Week on week, these two dads bring their sons to our football sessions. Their little ones started just shy of one years old, hardly able to focus for a mere second. I saw their moments of frustration as their tots ran off with the ball, planted their bums on the floor in protest or did the opposite of what I was teaching them to do. But these dads always persevere.
🙂 They give countless high-fives.
🙂 They sigh some but smile and encourage their children way more.
🙂 They get down on their knees and do the activities when their kids don’t want to cooperate.
🙂 They bend over, hold their hands and run with them as their tots learn to dribble the ball.
🙂 They hold them in their arms and run with them when their tots are too tired to run.
🙂 They celebrate every goal, every bettered skill and every glimmering smile on their toddler’s face.
Their perseverance has made ALL the difference.
Their little ones have grown in strides. Their skills, confidence and ability to follow the routine amazes me every time. Their interactions with their teammates is beyond adorable. Their bond with their dads is heartwarming!
Through perseverance, there is no limit to what toddlers can learn!
Yet again, we are inspired to keep teaching these tots in partnership with their wonderful parents.
Stay tuned to our blog for more stories from Wobble and Kick football sessions in London.
Their first words are mostly likely the words we choose to repeat to them the most or the songs we single most often to them. My son’s first proper word was ‘Yeah’ and I didn’t realise until after he said it that I was saying it to him every time after I asked him a question. Another friend’s baby was really great at repeating E I E I O. Guess what nursery rhyme her kid heard the most often? Kids grow up to use our expressions, talk with our accents and even have some of our idiosyncrasies, which are the hardest things to mimic. It isn’t hard to see, then, why when parents are active, children grow up to be active as well. Continue reading →
Since starting Wobble and Kick, a few parents have expressed surprise that I coach babies from one to four years old. Some people have outright said that it’s too early for their baby to learn football. I completely understand the logic behind that but I think a bit differently. Continue reading →