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How to build gross motor skills

Gross motor skills involve using the large muscles of the body to perform everyday activities such as walking, running, and jumping. They are also important for sporting and playground skills such as climbing, catching and throwing a ball.

How do you know if your children are reaching important gross motor milestones? Children who have problems with gross motor skills are likely to:

  • Achieve sitting, crawling, and walking much later than average
  • Move stiffly
  • Avoid physical activities
  • Get tired frequently
  • Have trouble maintaining an upright position when sitting on a tabletop or mat
  • At an older age, have problems following instructions during physical tasks (e.g. stepping forward before throwing, maneuvering through obstacle courses)

Weak gross motor skills can get in the way of having fun. Children who lack gross motor skills also often lack fine motor skills that are necessary for formal school work and day-to-day tasks, so ignoring this problem can lead to other problems that affect every area of your children’s lives.

You can help children build strong gross motor skills by practicing these fun activities at home.

Hopscotch:

A game of hopscotch helps strengthen muscles along with balance and coordination. The one and two-boxed pattern will allow children to gain a sense of balance as they hop on two legs then one and vice versa.  The game can also be played indoors by using colored tapes.

You’re It:

The traditional game of tag requires a lot of running and dodging. It can be played indoors as well as outdoors and accommodates any amount of players present. You can vary the game rules and have kids run in pairs or have them hold hands.

Indoor obstacle course:

An obstacle course is a fun way to give children lots of physical exercise while also giving them goals to accomplish. Use furniture, pillows, blankets, and even cardboard boxes to create areas for children to crawl on and through. This is also a good way to teach children new vocabulary such as through, under, inside, and over.

 Ball play:

Whether it is throwing a ball, catching, kicking, or hitting with a bat, playing with balls is a fun way to improve concentration, aim, and coordination. Use a variety of shapes, sizes and textures from plastic to basketballs and even footballs to keep the games interesting.

Water play:

Most children love to kick, splash, and run around in water. While water play is a fun activity, it is beneficial for developing gross motor skills as well. And this is not limited to swimming only. Just running around the garden trying to dodge sprinklers or pouring water from one bucket to another can develop muscular and core strength.

Encourage children to take part in the above activities and with time and a little effort, you will be amazed at how quickly their initial clumsiness turns into coordination.

 

July 9th, 2017

Posted In: Tips

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