Paint Your Space Warm Up
Contributed by Amanda Newman
To warm-up our bodies using a guided improvisational structure, for older students can also be used to introduce the term “kinesphere”.
- Tell students to imagine that they’re dipping their hands into their favorite color paint.
- Then they can “paint” the space around them with that color. For older students, this can be a time to introduce the word “kinesphere.”
- Lead the group through the guided improvisational warm up. Provide verbal instructions and modeling for different kinds of “painting” that warm up different parts of the body. Ideas could include:
- Painting with different parts of the body (hands, feet, elbows, hips, head, etc).
- Painting with just one side of the body (warming up body halves).
- Reaching across the body to paint the corners (warming up cross lateral movement).
- Painting from the front to the side to the back space (to warm up spirals in the body).
- Painting with different actions/qualities (brush, dot, splatter, etc.).
- Finally, end with three deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth as if to blow on the paint to dry it.
Transition into Activity
Using imaginative language, invite students to move into their own “artist studio” in the space. This might actually entail guiding students to move to a new space or inviting them to imagine walls growing up around them (if working from a chair or desk).
Transition out of Activity
If moving back to chairs/desks, students can pick their favorite way to paint and paint a path back to their seat. If staying stationary, students can take a look at their new “painting” for a count of 5 and end with their eyes back on the TA by 1.
Each student should sit or stand in their own space—if possible, with enough space around them that they can spread their arms without touching anyone else. This can also happen at students’ desks or in chairs if need be. Very adaptable to the space available.
- This activity can be done seated or standing.
- Students who need additional balance support can hold onto a desk or chair or get the support of a teacher or paraprofessional.
- Scarves or ribbons can be provided for students needing more visual or tactile stimulation.
- Visual vocabulary cards may also be supportive in introducing the activity (paint, paintbrush) or in creating different actions/qualities (swipes, dots, splatters).
Role of the Teachers and Paraprofessionals
- Classroom professionals can provide balance support or spotting as needed or hand-over-hand support in creating the painting gestures.
- A classroom professional might also lead the activity one-on-one with a student in a slightly removed space if less sensory stimulation is needed.
- Finally, because this is an activity that invites creative choice-making and variation, classroom professionals might also support by calling out choices they see—to celebrate student effort and highlight additional options for others.
This activity is very adaptable to remote learning. Depending on students’ mobility and stability, it may work best for all students to remain seated since there’s limited opportunity to monitor for balance and tripping hazards.