You’ve probably heard about gross motor skills. But what are they? And why are they important? Movement is SO important to incorporate into every single day, especially if your child experiences difficulties with balance and coordination.
You may have realized that you do a lot of fine motor activities at home, but don’t focus much on gross motor skills. Yes, your kids love to play at parks and jump around at home on the couch or bed, but try planning a few structured gross motor play activities at home for them to work on these skills.
How do you get a clue that your child has gross motor difficulties?
If a child has gross motor difficulties, you might notice them experiencing difficulties in these areas:
● Activities of Daily Living (dressing independently, holding and using cutlery).
● Maintaining posture while sitting on the floor or at a table.
● Low energy levels or seem tired or lethargic and take longer to respond to stimuli around them.
● Dribbling inappropriately or avoids participation in physical activities
Today I am sharing some gross motor activities and why they are important:
- Bowling and Bean Bag Throws
Aiming for targets is a great way to build the spirit to participate in an activity. For bowling, just arrange empty bottles, such as water or soda bottles, and allow your child to practice rolling different sized balls to hit the pins and at varying distance. As for beanbags, try tossing them through holes or knock over different objects.
- Play Ball
Simple things can be a great source of pleasure for a child and among the most impressive is a ball. Begin by rolling a ball back-and-forth with your child. This simple task develops important eye tracking skills and it can encourage motor planning as the child follows the movement of the ball. Other activities include:
● Kicking in a goal post
● Bounce and catch
Balancing can be very challenging for some kids and many gross motor tasks demand a good sense of balance. Create obstacle courses with items available in your house/ kitchen/ playroom
● Walking zig- zag
● Hopping on place mats
● Jumping jacks,
● Hopping/ walking like animals
● Crab walk
● Frog jump
● Ball toss
● Walk onn a line
● Climb over objects
Parents can use dancing with music to encourage imitation and it can be a great way to teach daily living skills while simultaneously working on gross motor skills. Dance ideas include:
● Tap and dance- waiting and turn taking
● Tap the body part and move- learn names of body parts
● Freeze Dance- concentration
● Brush Your Teeth
● Wiggle the Sillies Out- Just for Fun!
- Pretend Play
Pretend play is a considerable challenge in many cases for individuals on the spectrum and kids can benefit from moving around while developing their imaginations. Ideas for pretend play that use motor skills include:
● Fly like an airplane
● Hop like a bunny
● Dress up games
● Making different noises
● Facial expressions
- Tunnel Crawl
Crawling through a tunnel can be an extremely enjoyable activity. Incorporate social skills into the activity to build eye contact, greeting, requesting help;
But you don't have to buy a tunnel toy to enjoy the crawling activity. Align boxes to create a tunnel or build one using chairs and blankets. The tunnel activity can be transformed into different things, from a train to a campsite. Involve your child to build this one!