Run! Jump! Climb! Ideas for Developing Gross Motor Skills through Indoor Active Play
Oftentimes we are so concerned with our childrens developing academic and cognitive skills (Are they identifying their letters? Know their numbers?
), that we forget about the development of other basic skills like controlling large muscles of the body.
The good news: Its easy to nurture your childs gross motor skill development -- all you need to do is play! Children learn physical motor skills best through their everyday, natural experiences. Whether it be indoors or outdoors, children of all ages need active play to build strong muscles and develop coordination. Time and space to roll, crawl, walk run, climb, jump, throw things, and more!
Some of the easiest ways to enhance your childs gross motor skills are a regular visit to the playground, bike or scooter ride, taking a walk or playing a game of tag. But sometimes weather may not be conducive to outdoor exploration, so how do you encourage active play without literally letting your child climb the walls? Here are a few ideas:
- Treasure Hunt: Get your child moving around! Hide treasures around the house and let them search and collect them all in a basket.
- Make Your Own Indoor Obstacle Course: Gather up hula hoops, the play tunnel, jump ropes, cones and whatever else you have lying around and have the kids go through an indoor obstacle course. Best part? You can scale this activity to age appropriateness. Toddlers may crawl through a tunnel while older kids may do 10 jumping jacks at a station.
- Dance Party: Plug in the iPod, turn on the tunes and get grooving. Want more of a challenge? Try a game of freeze dance. Every time you turn the music off, everyone has to freeze.
- Pretend Animal Play: Walk like an elephant. Waddle like a penguin. Get your child moving like an animal and theyll work on different muscle control skills.
- Hot Potato, Hot Potato: Throwing and catching a ball doesnt have to involve tossing it across long distances or using a glove. Small tosses like those in a game of hot potato will help build hand-eye coordination.