Using “Air in Motion” Activities

Building connections with the natural world by helping children become aware of the air around them is the focus of this activity.

There are many benefits of purposeful movement experiences such as creating body poses and movements. Many ways children benefit  include:

  1. increased confidence in what their bodies can do (body competence)
  2. increased ability to calm themselves through non-locomotor (stationary) movement
  3. heightened awareness and greater focus

Try this activity on several occasions and at different times of the day. Then compare how the wind feels and try to detect some patterns such as calmer breezes in the evening.

The wind’s eternal power has been inspiration for many folk tales around the world. Try to find a wind story that originated in your part of the world and read it or tell it to your children.

Air in Motion (part one)

Go outside and see if you can feel or see evidence of wind…which is air in motion! Try holding a blade of grass, leaf or scarf. What happens when you let go? Is the wind blowing today? Did you feel the wind’s power?

Wind helps plants grow by blowing seeds to new places. You can blow like the wind too! Can you pretend that your body is blowing in the wind? How does your movement change if the air is moving fast or slow?

Air in Motion (part two)

Let’s build a mobile outdoors to help us see the wind’s power. First, can you collect some natural items or reuse items around the house or school that you can hang? They can’t be too heavy. Now attach them with string to build a mobile. Where will you hang them? On a tree branch? Now watch your mobile. Do you see the wind’s power to make your objects move?

Talk About It

This activity is meant to connect children more fully with the benefits of the wind and air around them. Making physical connections (in this case, hanging clothing in the wind) will help children put their new knowledge into their muscle memory.

There are wind-related conservation benefits for homeowners and farmers when planting trees. Conifer trees can serve as a windbreak to protect homes from winds and conserve energy.

Fun Facts About Wind

Spiders are notorious wind travelers. They are able to use their silk as a simple parachute to carry them from one place to another. Here’s how it works: From the top of a platform (like a blade of grass), the spider faces the wind. Standing in a “tip-toe” position, with its abdomen pointing toward the sky, it releases a stream of silk from its spinneret. Lift off! The wind carries the spider through the air.

Hundreds of species of seeds travel and are spread by wind. Most commonly they are in the shape of a parachute, glider or helicopter. They have even been the inspiration for the design of early aircraft!

A remarkable winged seed is found on the tropical Asian climbing gourd Alsomitra macrocarpa. The entire seed has a wingspan of 5 inches (13 cm) and is capable of gliding through the air of the rain forest in wide circles. This seed reportedly inspired the design of early aircraft and gliders.

Wind impacts the shape of trees as they grow. Some are even called flag trees because the branches only grow on one side of the tree.

*Content of article adapted from worldforumfoundation.org/nature, A toolkit for Early Childhood Programs

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