The development of a child’s strength, balance, and coordination is crucial for participation in age-appropriate gross motor play skills. We often think of the benefits for participation in games and sports. But they are also important in preparation for independent self-care skills and participation in the classroom. Activities that help your child to develop strength, balance, and coordination help your child to participate in games/sports, gain independence with toileting and dressing skills, learn to read, develop handwriting skills, and improve focus and attention. You can practice at home with these fun activities!
1. Crab Walking and Bear Crawling
These help to improve your child’s core strength and bilateral coordination. Bonus, it’s fun to pretend to be different animals! To crab walk, have your child sit on the floor with their hands behind and feet out in front. To walk, they will lift their hips and alternate moving their legs and arms. To bear crawl, have your child lean forward from a standing position to put their hands on the floor. To walk, they will alternate moving their hands and feet. *If your child isn’t quite ready to “walk” in these positions, that’s OK! Just getting into these positions is great core work until they are ready to move.
2. Jumping Over Tape
This activity helps to improve your child’s strength and coordination skills. Using painter’s tape or something similar, create horizontal lines on the floor. Have your child stand on one side with puzzle pieces and place the puzzle board on the opposite side. Ask your child to hop forward over the lines to bring a puzzle piece to the board. Repeat until the puzzle is complete.
3. Single Leg Toe Grabbing
This helps your child develop their balance skills. Have your child pick up a small object such as a small toy or marble (parent supervision only) with their toes and place it in a basket without putting their foot down. For younger children, have them hold your hand or a wall to start. As their balance skills improve, challenge them to complete without upper body support.
4. Wheelbarrow Walking
This activity helps to improve core, shoulder, and hand strength. Have your child place their hands on the floor. Hold their legs as they walk their hands forward. *Adults, make sure you’re hinging and not rounding your back!
1. Freeze Dancing
This activity is a great way to work on balance, coordination, and attention skills. Turn on some music or sing a song and instruct your child to stop and freeze when the music is paused.