Preschool at Home

Preschool Activity: Teaching to Flip

The last time I was at my sister’s house, I taught my awesome nephew to flip! I was so happy to hear that he loves it, and my sister suggest putting the step up here for you guys.

Side Note: A little bit of bragging here–J took ALL of the pictures for us! We only had to do one flip to get them all, and with a little finishing from Pixlr, I’d argue they’re just as good as most grown-ups could do.

It seems like such a simple thing, but a somersault teaches more than you may realize. Things like coordination, muscle control, following directions and flexibility. But more than that, flips are fun!

I used to be a gymnastics teacher for toddlers through age 7, so I’ve included some important safety tips and proper form. These are written as the caption to each picture. Please don’t skimp on this!

Fair warning, little kids love to flip, and once they’ve gotten a taste of this, they will be flipping all over the place. Make sure they know not to try flips on furniture. They will fall off. Trust me.

Follow the steps and have fun.

Step 1: Teach kids where there chin is. Have them point to their chin and then their chest. Making htis connection will help them understand that the CHIN needs to touch the CHEST for a really good flip!

Step 1: Teach kids where there chin is. Have them point to their chin and then their chest. Making this connection will help them understand that the CHIN needs to touch the CHEST for a really good flip!

Make sure you do this step EVERY time. When kids don’t touch their chin to their chest, they hit their backs flat instead of rolling. It can knock the wind out of them (which is no fun), but it’s also bad for their backs.

Step 2: Get into position. Have the child stand perpendicular to you, starting on your non-dominate side.

Step 2: Get into position. Have the child stand perpendicular to you, starting on your non-dominate side. Their legs should be about shoulder-width apart.

I am right-handed, so Cub starts his flips on my left.

Remind them to tuck their chins!

Step 3: The Assisted Bend.

Step 3: The Assisted Bend. You want kids to end up touching the crown of their heads to the floor.

Also try to get them to get their heads as close to their legs as possible. It takes some time, but they are the most flexible they will ever be. Now is the time to encourage this form.

Plus, it makes for faster flips!

Step 5 Mid Flip

Step 4: Flip! Use your dominate hand to guide their backs while your non-dominant hand pushes their bottom over. NOTICE: The curve of Cub’s back and tuck of his head! These keep flips fun and not uncomfortable or harmful.

Step 6 The Big FInish

Step 5: The Big Finish! Praise, congratulate and teach the big “ta-da!”

Some other simple gymnastics that are funny to teach and fun for kids to learn are: hopping, skipping and walking on a balance beam (2×4) or along a piece of tape. Please note these skills are physically out of reach until kids achieve certain development milestones. Don’t get discouraged if they can’t get off the ground when hopping or can’t skip until about school age. That is normal. But teaching the skills early gives them an advantage.

Plus, it’s honestly hilarious to watch the little ones try to skip. They concentrate really hard and usually just manage to hop/jump forward a tiny bit.

Have fun!

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