Playing Ball


Ball Skills

Dinoduo love playing ball with their friends.  Pre-schoolers love ball games, catching and throwing a ball, kicking a ball and hitting a ball with a bat. Like all movement skills, your child will develop these skills as they grow.  As your child grows from toddler into pre-schooler they become more adept at ball skills.  But, like all movement skills, the more opportunity they have to practice these skills, the better they become.  Dinoduo would like to help all their preschool  friends with their ball skills. This week,  Dinoduo wants to get all their friends working on their underhand throw.

Underhand throw.

Have your child stand   on a spot facing a target.

Give them a small foam ball or tennis ball.

Show them how to swing their dominant hand back with the ball and swing forwards, releasing the ball at waist height in front of their body.

If your child is unable to release the ball at the right time, help them by counting “ready, steady, throw”

As your child gets the hang of it, have them turn their shoulders as they swing the arm to throw the ball even further

As your child develops their underhand throwing skills, have them step forward with the opposite foot as they throw the ball forwards.

Something to Aim for

Give them a target to aim for,    like a large box or hula hoop, or better still, let you become the target.

Measure the distance they throw and place a marker.  Have your child throw further than the marker.

Bean bags or rolled up socks are great for practicing underhand throwing. Practice throwing a bean bag into a hula hoop or a box.

Remember, Dinoduo want you to MOVE

Model: show your child how to throw correctly

Opportunity: provide lots of it

Verbalise: give your child lots of clear instructions

Encourage: Lots of it.


Follow Dinoduo over the next few weeks as we work with you on developing your child’s ball skills.

Copyright Dinoduo 2019

Proprioception: The Power of Push and Pull


Proprioception, sometimes known as the 6th sense, is a very important sense.  This is the sensory system that helps us learn to move. Proprioception is also involved in laying down the blue print for all our learnt movement. A good proprioceptive system is very important for smooth, co-ordinated movement.

Propriceptive receptors are embedded in all our muscles and in our tendons.  They provide sensory information that tells us

  • where are our parts of our body
  • what direction we are moving our body parts
  • The speed we are moving at
  • It tells us how much force we are exerting
  • it tells us how heavy the object is that we are carrying

Dinoduo has lots of fun ideas on how to give your pre-schooler lots of proprioceptive information. All this proprioceptive feedback will help your pre-schooler develop good motor control and co-ordination.  The proprioceptive system sends information when your pre-schooler is involved in lots of active play and heavy work activities. So come on, get your pre-schooler busy. Try some of the following over the weekend.

  •  Climbing activities: climbing trees, climbing up on height, play areas
  • Crawling activities, crawling obstacle course, crawling through tunnels

  • Carrying heavy objects, heavy toys,  helping with the shopping
  • Pushing and pulling activities, pushing a wheelbarrow or pram, moving furniture, trying to push their Mammy or Daddy ,
  • Hanging from suspended equipment, trapeze swing, chin up bar, monkey bars

  • Digging: in sand, garden etc
  • Playdough, all that kneading provides the hands with lots of deep pressure proprioception
Copyright DinoDuo 2019 



Why Children should Climb

Hankle and Roary love to climb, trees, walls, playground equipment, anything at all that they can reach. They love the sensation they get from climbing.  Little do they know that all this climbing is very good  for them. Look at all the benefits climbing offers your child.

  • Climbing helps develop strong upper limb and core muscles.  As they reach up and pull themselves up, shoulder and core muscles work very hard to move their body weight upwards.


  •  A child’s hip shape changes and evolves as they grow . This moulding happens as a child uses the muscles of their hips.  As they push down on their knee and shift body weight over their knee, they help develop the stabilising hip muscles   that are so important in moulding strong healthy hips.


  • Climbing activities provide lots of heavy work to the muscles. This heavy work helps develop the child’s proprioceptive system , an essential sensory system that is important to your child ‘s motor development.


  • Climbing challenges a child’s balance, helping your child develop good balance reactions. As your child climbs, they are constantly shifting weight and balancing on one limb, constantly adjusting their centre of gravity. this is a great way to develop their balance reactions
  • Climbing up on objects provides your child with increased body and spatial awareness. There is a completely different perspective from a height and by experiencing this height , your child develop a sense of spatial relationships when they climb.
  • Climbing provides your child with some “Risky Play”. Recent research has shown that children to not get enough opportunities to engage in Risky Play. Risky play allows a child to develop knowledge of their own bodies abilities and limits and to set boundaries for themselves. This allows a child to develop better skills at assessing risk in their everyday life. This in turn will limit their risk of getting hurt.

Parents of course need to be mindful of excessive risk and ensure that your child is engaging in activities that pose just enough challenge for them to succeed but not so much to place them in danger.   Supervision is required when children are climbing.

Copyright Dinoduo 2019


New WHO Guidelines on Active Play and Screen Time

Dinoduo welcomes the new WHO guidelines on Active Play and Screen Time

WHO releases new guidelines on  active play, sedentary behaviour and screen time for children under the age of 5. The guidelines on screen time ad active play echo guidelines already in place by the American Academy of Paediatricians

“Improving physical activity, reducing sedentary time and ensuring quality sleep in young children will improve their physical, mental health and wellbeing, and help prevent childhood obesity and associated diseases later in life,” says Dr Fiona Bull, programme manager for surveillance and population-based prevention of no communicable diseases, at WHO.

The guidelines focus on reducing restrained positions and sedentary play such as screen time with more active play. They recommend that sedentary play should be interactive  with caregivers and non screen based. The guidelines recommend the following for preschool children

Children 1-2 years of age should:

  • Spend at least 180 minutes in a variety of types of physical activities at any intensity, including moderate-to-vigorous-intensity physical activity, spread throughout the day; more is better.
  • Not be restrained for more than 1 hour at a time (e.g., prams/strollers, high chairs, or strapped on a caregiver’s back) or sit for extended periods of time. For 1-year-olds, sedentary screen time (such as watching TV or videos, playing computer games) is not recommended. For those aged 2 years, sedentary screen time should be no more than 1 hour; less is better. When sedentary, engaging in reading and storytelling with a caregiver is encouraged.
  • Have 11-14 hours of good quality sleep, including naps, with regular sleep and wake-up times.

 Children 3-4 years of age should:


  • Spend at least 180 minutes in a variety of types of physical activities at any intensity, of which at least 60 minutes is moderate- to vigorous intensity physical activity, spread throughout the day; more is better.
  • Not be restrained for more than 1 hour at a time (e.g., prams/strollers) or sit for extended periods of time. Sedentary screen time should be no more than 1 hour; less is better. When sedentary, engaging in reading and storytelling with a caregiver is encouraged.
  • Have 10–13h of good quality sleep, which may include a nap, with regular sleep and wake-up times.


Blown Away 2

Last week Dinoduo gave you lots of ideas for blowing bubbles to help your child calm down at times when they are over whelmed or upset.  Blowing games are a great way to help your child relax. Blowing activities are very useful for lots of other areas of development for your preschool child.

  • Blowing games develops your child’s oral motor muscles, those muscles that are so important for talking, eating, smiling and laughing.
  • Blowing games are great for developing breath control, another important component of talking, singing and playing a musical instrument.
  • Having good blowing skills is important when learning to swim to ensure the water does not go up your nose or into your lungs.
  • Deep blowing activity works the diaphragm and the respiratory muscles, important for aerobic activity

Here are a few more fun blowing activities to try at home with your pre schooler


Windy day

Hold a light tissue in front of your child and have your child blow the tissue like it is a windy day. Start by gentle blowing like a summer breeze; gradually increase the depth of breathing so that it is a wild windy day. Count how long your child can keep the tissue afloat.

Table soccer

This is a game for two people. Use the short end of the table and mark out a pitch using books, tape etc.

Each player has a straw and there is a ping pong ball in the middle. The players blow on their straw to move the ping pong ball to their opponent’s edge of the table. Score a point when the ball is blown over the edge.

Obstacle Blow

Use rolls of playdough to mark out a walled labyrinth course on a table, Place a ping pong between the playdough walls.  Start at the entrance of the labyrinth. Using a straw, have your pre-schooler blow the ping pong ball to the exit of the labyrinth.

Novelty Party Blowers

Check out the bargain shops for lots of blowing novelty toys and whistles. Party blowers, novelty whistles and mouth organs all are great blowing fun and can have lots of noisy blowing activity.

Water bubbles

Next time your child is in the bath or the pool, have them blow on the top of the water to make a bubble. As they get more confident with this,  bring their mouth to the water to blow bubbles in the water. This is such an important skill for learning to swim so it is well worth practicing.

Blowing ping pong balls on the water is great fun pol activity.  Buying those blow floating toys that flip over when you blow them are worth the investment.

  Dinoduo have special flutes that play a note when you blow them in the water.

Dandelion Heads

Don’t forget the good old game of blowing dandelion heads. Remember the number of blows it takes to remove all the seeds if the time you will get married at!!

So go on, have fun with these  blowing games .

copyright Dinoduo 2019

Blown Away!

Does your preschool child get wound up and over excited at times. The day in the life of the preschool child is very busy, rushing around, learning lots and lots, developing all the social niceties of dealing with others.  Would you like some ideas to help settle your pre-schooler when they are over wrought? Dinoduo have some nice ideas to help your child take a deep breath and settle themselves. Deep breathing has been used since olden times as a way of calming the system.  Just think of how breathing is used in yoga and meditation to support relaxation.  Your child will find it difficult to follow the instruction “Take a deep breath” but offering blowing activities helps your child take a big breath before they blow out.   Try the following bubble activities the next time your child seems like they are getting worked up.  No need to wait until they are upset, these activities will also help your child stay calm and relaxed when offered throughout the day.   And they are lots of fun!

Bubble blowing

Have your child blow bubbles from a wand. Your child may find it difficult to blow hard enough. If they cannot blow hard enough, blow the bubble yourself and catch the formed bubble on the wand, this is easier for your child to blow.

Bubble Snakes  

Take a plastic water bottle, remove the bottom end and place an old sock on the cut end using an elastic band.

Place some bubble mixture in a saucer and place the sock end of your blow toy in the bubble mixture to cover. Have your child take the bottle neck to their mouth and blow

The harder your child blows, the longer the snake.

Add some food die to the sock to get coloured bubbles

Blow paint

Give your child a straw and some plain paper. Provide some watered down paint in containers.

Have your child dribble some paint on the sheet of paper and then using the straw , blow on the paint to make some cool designs.  Watch the designs emerge as the colours mix.

Bubble Mountain

Put some washing up liquid in a plastic bowl or bottle with some water. Stand the container in a larger bowl to catch the bubbles.  Give your child a straw and have him/ her to blow into the water. Watch the bubbles form as your child blows. Very soon the bubbles will come tumbling over the top like a volcano. Add some food colouring to add to the excitement. Make sure your child is blowing out, not sucking in or they will have a very soapy mouth!!

copyright Dinoduo 2019

Active Play for St Patrick’s Day


Dinoduo have some great active play ideas for St Patricks Day. Have fun with the following ideas over the St Patricks weekend.


Find the Leprechaun Gold.

Cut out some gold coins from cardboard and hide them around the house or out in the garden.  Count how many coins you have hidden so you know when all the coins have been collected. Remember to hide some coins where they are easy to find and some coins in more difficult places.  Give your pre- schooler a bucket or basket and set them off to find all the gold.   Give your child hints like “getting hotter” or getting colder” if your child is getting frustrated.    You can have a small treat or prize for your pre-schooler if all the coins are found.


The Shamrock Trail.

Using green chalk, draw a trail of green shamrocks on the floor or out on the footpath, spacing them 12” apart approximately. Have your child step along the shamrock trail, one foot on each shamrock to get to the end of the trail. If they step off the shamrocks then back to the beginning.

Using the shamrock trail, have your pre-schooler jump from one shamrock to the next. Remember to bend the knees and use the arms.  See how many shamrocks they can jump to without stopping.

Have your child jump on the shamrock and then “stick”, trying to hold their balance so they don’t step off the shamrock.


Green Balloon trail

Hang a string the length of a room; make sure there is a clear pathway beneath the string. Hang green balloons along the length of the string, just out of arms reach of your pre-schooler.  Have your child walk beneath the balloons, jumping up to bat each balloon.

Roll up newspaper and secure with tape to make a bat, give your child the bat and have them walk the trail, batting each balloon with the bat.


Marching Band

Put on the  music and pretend to be marching  in a marching band in the parade, lift the legs and “ 1, 2 3, 4 “ of you go marching.

Get two saucepan lids and bang them together as you march along.

Dance a jig  

No St Patricks day is complete without dancing a jig, so on with the Irish music. Point those toes and dance your “1, 2 3’s” together with your pre-schooler.  Guaranteed to have you both laughing and out of breath in no time.

Happy St Patrick ’s Day to everyone from Dinoduo. Hope you all have a great weekend.

Copyright Dinoduo 2019



Rolling Around Games

Hankle and Roary share lots of their favourite rolling games for you to try with your pre-schooler.  Remember; make sure your child rolls to both sides equally.

Rolling  Skittles

Set up some skittles (some empty milk cartons will do if you have no skittles) at the short end of a mat. Have your child lie down at the opposite short end, lying length ways to the short end.  On go, have your child roll along the mat , try and knock down the skittles.

Pencil Roll

Have your child lie across the short end of a mat, with both hands into their side. On go, have your child roll the length of the mat like a pencil, keeping the hands into the side.

Jigsaw roll

Place an insert jigsaw puzzle at one end of the mat and the insert pieces on the other end (use the short end of the mat).   On go, your child has to take one of the jigsaw pieces and roil the length of the mat to place the piece in the insert jigsaw. Your child then rolls back for the next piece. Your child keeps on rolling until all the pieces are in the insert jigsaw.  You can change the position of the hands to have your child work different muscles.

Tunnel Roll

This is a great one for out in the garden or for a big open space. Have your child lie in a canvas tunnel.  Encourage your child to roll the tunnel in different directions.  Close supervision is needed.

Sausage Roll

This is Hankle’s favourite. Fold a blanket in half or in thirds depending on the size.   Place the folded blanket out on the floor and have your child lie on one end of it. Taking the end of the blanket, roll your child up in the blanket. When you have your child completely rolled up in the blanket, take the end of the blanket and on a count of three, lift the blanket edge up so that your child rolls free of the blanket.  Be prepared to play this over and over again!

Bubble Wrap roll

Place some bubble wrap on the mat. Have your child lie down on the bubble wrap and roll backwards and forwards trying to pop as much of the bubble wrap as possible.

Rolling Train

Have you more than one pre-schooler? Have them all lie side by side on the floor or at one end of a large mat.  On go, have them all roll together, trying to keep up with their friends. Sure to get a few giggles going.


So off ye go, get rolling around and remember to have fun.

copyright Dinoduo 2019

Rolling Around

Hankle and Roary love rolling around on the ground. Together with all their pre-school friends, they love wriggling and rolling, getting into all sorts of fun shapes. To them they are just messing around, having fun.  Little do they know that all that rolling is also so good for developing their motor skills and great for brain development?  Rolling is great for the following

  • Crossing midline—as your child rolls, they reach across their body and they cross their midline. Crossing midline is a very important developmental skill. Crossing midline allows co-ordination of both sides of the body. Crossing midline is a fundamental motor skill for writing, tracking a moving ball, and reading and for lots of sports activities such as hitting a ball with a racket.


  • Developing core muscles—– when rolling, your child will use their core muscles to move from back to tummy to back. When your child starts to roll, it is initially a fast flip (something like a pancake) with their body rigid. As their rolling skill develops, your child typically can roll in segments, first their head, and then either the hips or shoulders will follow until they have completed a roll. As your child gets stronger, they are able to put their hands above their head or down by their side and roll like a pencil which really works those tummy muscles. The slower your child rolls, the more those core muscles have to work. If you don’t believe me, try it yourself!


  • Developing balance –—- Rolling on the floor is a balance activity, the action of the shoulders following head movement is a reflex activity that is very important for developing balance. The rolling action stimulates the balance centres in the head (The vestibular system) and helps your pre-schooler develop their sense of balance.


  • Developing body awareness-—– Rolling on the floor works lots of muscles and your child gets lots of feedback from their body and how it is interacting with the ground. All this sensory information helps your child develop good body awareness and awareness of where they are in relation to the world around them (spatial awareness)


  • Developing asymmetrical bilateral integration —– or a fancy way of saying two sides of the body working together.   When bilateral integration is asymmetrical, both sides of the body are doing different actions to complete a skill. This is a fundamental development block for activities such as eating with knife and fork, tying shoe laces, writing, kicking a ball etc.


  • Sorting out those muscle imbalances—– Your child may have a preference to roll to one side over the other . This may be due to hand dominance, and may lead to one side of their body being stronger and more co-ordinated than the other. Making sure your child rolls to both sides helps reduce this difference in muscle development between the two sides.


  • Settling the giddy child —–Your child needs lots of movement, some days more than others. If your child is giddy, rolling on the ground is a great way to get lots of movement sensation to settle the wiggles and giddiness. Perfect for those wet and rainy days.

Dinoduo have lots of great fun rolling activities for you and your pre-school child.

copyright Dinoduo 2019






Balloon Mania!!

 Dinoduo are back!!! Hankle and Roary have had a lovely break and now they are back with lots more fun movement ideas for the preschool child. Hope you all have been keeping busy and active.  The evenings are still dark and the weather is changeable.  Hankle and Roary share their favourite games to play with balloons, perfect for those wet afternoons or long evenings. Remember, balloons can pop so warn your child to prepare for the loud noise. Always pick up the torn balloon pieces.

Balloon Handball

Keep the balloon in the air by hitting it up with your hand. Count how many times you can hit it before the balloon hits the ground.

Balloon Kickball

Keep the balloon in the air by hitting it up with your foot. Count how many times you can hit it before the balloon hits the ground.

Balloon Batting

Use a small tennis racket or bat to keep the balloon in the air. Count how many times you can hit the balloon before it hits the ground.

Balloon Crawling race

Line up on hands and knees behind a line with a balloon in front of you.  Mark out a finishing line.   Ready, steady Go!! Use your head to push the balloon in front of you towards the finishing line. The winner is the first balloon to pass the finishing line.

You can also play this game by blowing the balloons across the floor.  Really good for developing core strength.

Balloon Body Bounce

Each player stands in a circle with a balloon. On “Go!!” everyone bounces their balloon into the air and the leader calls out a body part and the player hits the balloon trying to keep it in the air with that body part.   Hands, feet, head, back, Bum, knee, tummy. Lots and lots of giggles and fun.

To the Moon and the Stars

Hang a string across your room and from that string hang some balloons in a row  just out of  arms reach of your child ( “The Moon and the Stars”)

Starting at the beginning of the string, have your child cross the room, jumping up to bat “the Moon and the Stars”

Alternatively, you could have your child reach on tip toes to bat “the Moon and the Stars”

Balloon Volleyball

This game can be played in standing or in high knees. Divide your teams in two and separate the teams with a piece of string.  Mark out the boundaries of the playing pitch using tape or chalk. One player has a balloon. Each team tries to bat the balloon over the net. They can keep the balloon in the air a number of times before crossing the net. If the balloon hits the ground on either side within the pitch, then the opposing team gets a point. First team to 10 is the winner.

Musical Balloons

Place balloons in the middle of the floor, a balloon for each player. Put on the music and have the players march around.  When the music stops, each player must run to pick up a balloon before you have counted to “5”.  If you want to make it more competitive, reduce the number of balloons to one less than the number of players.


Balloon Dodge Ball

This is a fun game of tag that can be played indoors. The player who is “on” ( or the leader) has a balloon. All other players spread around an empty space. The player who is “on” (or the leader) tries to catch the other players by touching them with the balloon. They can throw, kick or reach out to the players with the balloon to “tag” them.  This game can be played walking, running, high keeling, tip toe walking  or crawling.


Don’t step on the Bomb!!

Place lots of balloons (The bombs)  in the middle of the room . Have your player/s walk around the room, making sure that they do not touch off the balloons. The faster they move the more the balloons will move around. The leader can shake up the balloons to give them more movement. This is another game that can be played walking, running, high keeling, tip toe or crawling.

So Dinoduo says , blow up those balloons and have some fun.

Copyright of Dinoduo 2019