If you’re interested in reading more on ideas presented in the article below, I suggest reading Simple Steps to Foot Pain Relief. If you’d like movement instruction via video, start with Schoolhouse Series Snacks: Your Toes and Calves.
Do you homeschool your kids? Are there a lot of children in your house as well as days left of summer vacation? Well, this post is for you. I had a lot of fun creating and doing these games with “the cousins,” but even more interesting (or is it surprising?) was how into their feet they became! Try this Foot Unit to get your kids out of their shoes and into their feet!
Project 1: Foot Signatures
Fold a piece of paper to mark the top half (for handwriting) from the bottom half (for footwriting.)
Have everyone handwrite their name on the top
and see how it compares to their foot writing below. And, no fair-sies only doing it once! We found that the third or fourth attempt (better than my regular handwriting!)
was MUCH better than the first.
And for tons of fun, try it with the OTHER foot. And in cursive. And then writing backwards. And in reverse. You know, for fun.
Even the littles will want to get involved.
Although at this point, foot and hand writing are equally good.
Project 2: Tracing Your Foot
Have each kiddo trace their foot on a piece of paper. (See where I came up with that catchy project title?)
Then, have them run, shrieking through the house to unearth their favorite pair of shoes from the closet to see how their shoes measure up to their foot tracing.
Some discussion questions:
1. How does your foot-shape compare to your shoe shape?
2. How do you think this affects your feet?
This is the BEST time of year to do this game because one of the biggest issues kids have with their shoes is outgrowing them before a parent realizes it. This is where many adults first developed the habit of scrunching their toes, just a little, to keep them from touching the end of their shoes. This often develops into adult-purchases of too-small shoes, to recreate that early sensation of “what shoes should feel like on my feet.”
Back-to-(Home)-School Shopping Tip: Always make sure you purchase shoes during the middle or end of the day or after your workout (or the kids have been running around a lot). This will ensure that your foot is at its largest size of the day. Also, kids feet grow at an approximate rate of 1/2-inch a year. Kids shoes should also be at least 1/2″ longer than their foot at all times. Which means shoes will fit a child for about four to six months. Which is why buying a kid $275 Air Jordans might not be a great financial decision, depending how many extra $275’s you have lying around.
Question: Do they even make Air Jordans any more? Does this say a lot about how old I am when AJs represent the height of expensive shoe purchases? You know, someone was mugged and beat up and killed for their Air Jordans. At least, that was the story on my playground. Whereas, I was busy not getting mugged for my purple Kangaroos from KMART. With a velcro pocket on the side. Because I was cool, remember?
Project 3: Nerves
There are two types of nerves in the feet: motor (those that tell the toes and feet to move) and sensory (those that the toes and feet feel the environment with).
Test your motor nerves: Starting in standing position, see if your kids can
Lift their big toe by itself.
Lift each other toe by itself.
Spread the toes away from each other.
Spread the toes away from each other without lifting them off the ground at the same time.
Shopping tip: Kids should only wear shoes that have enough space for their toes to spread out and away from each other.
Test your sensory nerves: Sensory nerves measure environmental factors like temperature and surface textures. Collect items from around the house with various texture, like a washcloth, sandpaper (you got that around the house, right?), a toothbrush (of some unlucky person), some pebbles of various sizes, a set of silverware (to be washed before putting back, especially if you have me over for dinner), an ice cube and something warmed. You’ll also need a blindfold.
See how many items your kids can identify by touching items with only their feet! This simple game opens a child’s mind to the fact that their feet are constantly taking in data in the same way their eyes take it in. Can they tell temperature with their feet? Can they tell the difference between a patch of dirt, or grass, or bricks — just with their feet? YES, they can!
To discuss: To keep the sensory nerves healthy and “alert” exposing your feet to various surfaces and items (more like rocks and dirt and grass and less like forks and knives and shards of glass). Most people expose their feet ONLY to the sensation of socks and the same pair of shoes and the flat surfaces inside their home.
Project: Barefoot Playground
Can you create a safe “foot path” in your backyard that stays debris free, but includes 3-4 different natural surfaces for “exercising the feet?” Just gathering rocks in an area and having everyone “tidy it up” can be a fun project. Then, you can ask your kids “did you take your feet out for a bit of sensory exercise?” and they know what you mean!
Too much work? Too cold and snowy where you live? A cobblestone mat works too!
Get the full text on feet, footwear and how to exercise to strengthen your feet and build a healthier shoe closet for your family here: http://www.amazon.com/Every-Womans-Guide-Foot-Relief/dp/1936661071/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1339121051&sr=8-1 It’s invaluable information, really. You’ll never look at feet the same again!