Children with excellent gross motor skills don’t usually have issues with larger movements such as crawling, walking, running and jumping. They are physically fit and enjoy healthy growth, which occurs as a result of their engagement in gross motor activities.
These activities make them use the muscles of their legs, arms, and trunk, thereby helping in the total development of their body and brain. If you want to improve the gross motor skills of your children, you can introduce them to the following activities.
Gross Motor Activities for Little Kids
#1. Take them to trampoline parks
Aside from the fact that trampoline parks are a fun place that children love to visit to socialize with one another, activities at these parks support the development of gross motor skills. However, before you take your children to a trampoline park, make sure they are old enough to adhere to the safety instructions.
If your children are still young, buy a mini-trampoline at home. Allow them to have fun on it, but closely supervise the activity. Also, make sure there is a jump bar for the safety of the kids.
#2. Make them learn martial arts
Learning martial arts involves active actions such as kicking, grappling, and punching. As such, it helps children to develop strength in arms and legs. Kids who take part in martial arts classes also learn how to balance and control their body in space.
Although, martial arts help children to learn self-defence and makes them self-confident, because it requires lots of focus during training, it has been proven that they are one of the gross motor activities that children with ADHD can benefit from.
#3. Encourage them to play hopscotch game
Hopscotch is a fun after-school activity that not only develops gross motor skills; it also allows kids to exercise their numerical skills. To play hopscotch game, children would have to throw and jump, and doing this helps with balance and coordination of the body.
#4. Allow them to play on the playground
Allowing your kids to play on the playground comes with many benefits. For example, allowing them to go on the swing helps develop body balance. It also helps them to learn how to coordinate shifting their weight. At the same time, they learn how to coordinate the back and forth movement of their legs.
Though a bit scary the first few times children try to play with them, rope ladders and wobble bridges are also playground equipment you should encourage your children to play with, because they help build the trunk muscles.
#5. Let them learn how to ride a tricycle
As a result of poor gross motor skills, some kids struggle to learn how to ride bikes. For such kids, learning how to ride a tricycle is one of the alternative gross motor activities that can be adopted.
Unlike a bicycle, a tricycle comes with handles that can be held and used to push it while the children learn how to pedal. Scooters and pedal cars can also be used to learn how to pedal, until the child is confident in pedalling, then he or she can progress to learning how to ride a bike.
After children have mastered how to ride a bike, you can make it more interesting by introducing obstacle courses, but make them always wear a helmet.
#6. Let them play with balloons and bubbles
Directions of balloons and bubbles can be quite unpredictable when released into the air, this makes playing with them very interesting for kids and helps to develop gross motor skills. Release the bubbles into the air and ask your children to pop as many as possible. As for the balloons, the kids will aim to pop, catch or kick when released into the air.
While trying to do all these, your children would have to run, jump, and move all parts of their body, and their gross motor skills are built in the process.
#7. Involve them in arts and crafts
Arts and crafts are a way for kids to flex their creative muscles. At the same time, they can serve as a gross motor activity for kids because they engage the muscles of the hand. For this reason, let your children take part in artworks such as painting and drawing.
Also, allow them to make crafts with papers and other household waste items.
#8. Let them go hiking
Encouraging your children to hike around the neighbourhood or visiting a park for a hike is another way to make them acquire gross motor skills. To make the hiking more interesting, add other related physical activities such as marching, jogging, skipping and hopping. While at it, tell stories, count the things seen along the pathway and play exciting games.
#9. Challenge them with obstacle courses
These can be done indoor or outdoor. For indoor, create the course using furniture, pillows and blankets, and ask your children to crawl through it. You can also make them crawl on it.
For outdoor, set up obstacles that let your children engage in activities such as jumping jacks, belly crawling, bear walking, and other movements that challenge them to crawl or jump.
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#10. Let them dance
A list of gross motor activities for kids wouldn’t be complete if dancing isn’t mentioned. This is because dancing not only instills confidence in a child, but helps children build their kinesthetic intelligence. It also helps them build awareness of rhythm.
Dancing can be freestyle or through movement with songs. Recommended nursery rhymes that would make your kids move their body a lot while dancing include “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes,” “I’m a Little Teapot,” “The Wheels on the Bus,” and “Popcorn”
If your children don’t know how to dance, enrol them in a dance class.
The above are some of the gross motor activities for kids. By exposing them to the activities, you would help them develop a strong body and a strong mind.