What can you do with a paper bag?

The way you measure a society’s soul is by the way that it treats its children.
Nelson Mandela

Kidz Newz no. 144 – 29th July 2015

Welcome to Kidz Newz, especially to all new subscribers. Kidz Newz is a regular newsletter with information and teaching tips for anyone involved with young children. You are receiving this because you have attended one of my workshops, purchased a book, or you have requested to be on the mailing list. Thank you. Please forward this to anyone you feel it may be of interest to. Feedback is welcome. Don’t forget to stay in touch on our Facebook Page and watch out for our exclusive fan page competitions.

What can you do with a paper bag?

I recently came across a sensational article by LaDonna Woolsey, Owner/Operator at Woolsey Academy For Young Learners, posted to a LinkedIn group I belong to called the Early Childhood Education network. Titled Heavy Play In Pre-K!, she explores the possibilities for learning just using a humble paper bag, among many other motor-sensory activities. It is a masterful piece not only because of all the myriad activities she presents but because of the learning outcomes of each activity and the links to more activities and professional journals on the subject. These are not just ‘rainy day activities’ but essential activities for those children who need more motor-sensory stimulation. When you encounter children – mostly boys – who exhibit boisterous, often loud and apparently uncontrolled behaviour, maybe they just need much more physical stimulation, and it isn’t always possible to simply do more outdoor play. This is a neurological and physiological need. Telling them to be quiet and punishing them by sitting them in a corner is actually quite destructive and cruel. It does not meet the child’s needs. I am not suggesting you accept anti-social behaviour, obviously, nor is it acceptable for children’s behaviour to impinge negatively on others, but anticipate the problems and you will find providing these sorts of activities enormously helpful, not only for your survival but for the children’s development. When you then want to do some quiet activities like music where they have to focus, or reading or mat time where they have to be still, you will find their ability to concentrate greatly enhanced. I hear people frequently telling me they won’t do music and movement in the class because it would very quickly descend into mayhem. This is very sad because if you do some ‘heavy play’ as LaDonna terms it, you will find the music class won’t be disastrous because the disruptive ones will have settled down.

Some of the comments about paper bags that came up added – squashing the paper bag into as small a size as possible, seeing how many crushed bags would fit into a container – great as a group activity – putting some items, say blocks, into the bag and weighing it – maybe comparing the difference in weight with other items in another bag that another child (or group) has, and so on. Think of the maths involved, and cause and effect (maybe it was too heavy and the bag split?).

Have fun with these activities and please let me know how you get on – or post something for LaDonna to see. Click on this link to see the article. Great fun! Great photos! Great insights into motor-sensory needs. Thanks LaDonna for your kind permission to forward this link.

GESS Conference in Jakarta (Global Educational Supplies and Solutions)

As you all know, I seldom do workshops these days but I do present at conferences from time to time. My publishers, Crown House Publishing in the UK, have suggested I present at the GESS conference in Jakarta from 30 September to 2 October, which I am doing. I am presenting on ‘Scarf Magic’. If you or anyone you know would like to attend this free conference, please ask them to go to www.gessindonesia.com to register. And please come and say hello to me if you do.

Quotes of the Week

View every risk as an opportunity, as this is the first required step towards success.
– Shelley Taylor-Smith

Why not go out on a limb? Isn’t that where the fruit is?
– Frank Scully

Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass…it’s about learning how to dance in the rain.
– Vivian Green


We really valued having explicit instructions on how to make the ribbon sticks. We have had them made and the children are using them during music time in simple activities such as swirling above the head like helicopters, swirling in front of them and at their sides. The colours are gorgeous and great sensory feedback.

We have purchased these resources in the last few months and are really enjoying the new ideas.

Michèle Spreckley
Uncle Bobs Child Development Centre


Some reflections on running (From Winston Marsh’s newsletter – www.winstonmarsh.com.au)

You may know that I’ve really enjoyed running every day for the last twenty years or so. I thought I might share some observations on exercise that may entice you to get started…

  1. My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was 60. She’s 97 now and we don’t know where the heck she is.
  2. The only reason I would take up jogging is so that I could hear heavy breathing again.
  3. I joined a health club last year, spent about 400 bucks. I haven’t lost a pound. Apparently you have to show up.
  4. I have to exercise early in the morning before my brain figures out what I’m doing.
  5. I don’t exercise at all. If God meant us to touch our toes, he would have put them further up on our body.
  6. I like long walks, especially when people who annoy me take them.
  7. I have flabby thighs, but fortunately my stomach covers them.
  8. The advantage of exercising every day is that you die healthier.
  9. If you are going to try cross-country skiing, start with a small country.
  10. It is well documented that for every mile that you jog, you add one minute to your life. This enables you at 85 years old to spend an additional 5 months in a nursing home at $5000 per month.

About The Author

Marlene Rattigan B.A., Dip. Ed. (ECS), CELTA

Marlene Rattigan is an Early Childhood teacher, a teacher of English as a Second Language, and from 1987-2000 was a nationally accredited fitness leader. Her background is in music education. A keen interest in motor development in children led to the creation of Kidz-Fiz-Biz which she taught successfully for 13 years. Marlene also conducts workshops for children, teachers and parents at schools, in the community and at festivals. She has produced teaching manuals complete with audio CDs which are an extension of her ‘Kidz-Fiz-Biz’ program.

PO Box 6894, East Perth WA 6892, Australia
T: +61 8 9355 4890 M: +61 (0) 410 64 2781 E: info@kidzfizbiz.com

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Until next time … continue being a legend in your classroom.

Marlene Rattigan, Editor
Kidz Newz

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