We think of holding a pencil, listening to a book, and pointing to letters and words as important school-readiness skills. But, we also need to remember that our young children need different opportunities to practice important skills. Using whole body expression is an age-appropriate way to encourage preschoolers to have fun while building necessary school abilities.
We can use chalk to write letters on cement. Encourage children to jump while naming each letter. This develops alphabetic principle while inviting children to use a whole body response. This is so important for young children.
Write letters or numbers on a beach ball and throw it to children. They can run and pick up the ball (catching is not necessary as many young children cannot yet catch a ball). Wherever their hands are on the ball, they say the number or letter they are covering or touching. This is another method to combine gross motor activities with school readiness skills.
A third activity we like is to place words on a wall and give children a new flyswatter. If children are working on sight vocabulary, they can swat words as you say them. You might also have them find words with specific letters in them. For example, you could say, "Swat a word with a b in it." This encourages concept of word along with alphabetic principle. The "game" works with names, too. You might put the names of everyone in the class on the wall and individuals learn to recognize their name by hitting at it.
NAEYC - 2.C.04, 2.E. 03, 2.E.07, & 2.E.09.
Head Start - I.C., VII.C, & VII.D.