By: Lindsey Sawyer, DPT – Child & Family Development
For those of you wanting some ideas to get your child moving while also improving their gross motor skills, coordination and balance here is a list of suggestions and resources:
Tape Obstacle Course:
Pull out that painters tape and create large shapes, letters or numbers on the floor or carpet. Then give your child instructions to move between each one.
For example, have your child start on their favorite shape, ask them to bear crawl to the square, crab walk to the triangle, hop on one foot to the circle. This will encourage coordination, balance, and motor control while also encourage learning of letters/ numbers/ shapes. If you put letters on the floor you could ask them to do different coordinated movements between letters to spell their name or specific site words they might be learning.
Create a hopscotch board with painter’s tape:
Toss some rolled up socks to a number and have your child move through the board by hopping on one foot or jumping with feet together.
Create a life size maze:
Use books, clothing, brooms, or sporting equipment to create a maze and then challenge your kids to find their way out! This will encourage spatial awareness, motor planning and problem solving skills.
Create an obstacle course:
-Make a balance beam with a line of painters tape
-Couch cushions to hop between
-Table to crawl under
-Blanket over two chairs to crab walk through
-Stuffed animals to roll over
-Make it more difficult by having your child balance a balloon or tennis ball on their hand while moving through the obstacles
Blow up a balloon and have kids hit it back and forth without letting it touch the ground.
Set up targets such as empty water bottles, toilet paper rolls or paper towel rolls and have children stand behind a designated line and toss soft objects to knock them down.
You could also set up a “bowling alley” and allow the child to roll a ball to knock the objects down to improve hand/eye coordination, timing and graded control.
Balloon foot balance:
Have your child lay on their back with their legs in the air and try to balance the balloon on their feet. This is a task that will take concentration, focus and is a great core strengthening activity.
Tape colored pieces of construction paper to the floor and toss different items (bean bags, colored socks balled up, stuffed animals) to the colored paper. You can create a scoring system such as 1 point if your item lands on any paper and 5 points if you land an item on the paper of its same color!
Wheelbarrow Puzzle Walk:
Set up a puzzle board and scatter puzzle pieces around the room. Grab your child’s ankles (or hips to make it easier) and hold them up so they can walk on their hands to collect the pieces. Have them bring back each piece one-by-one and place it in the puzzle until it is complete!
Scavenger Hunt with puzzle pieces:
Hide puzzle pieces and encourage child to find them. Then have child to lay on tummy to put the puzzle together after finding all the pieces to encourage upper body strengthening and endurance.
Here are a few great free resources for printables to encourage gross motor activities:
“Wiggle Jar” Activities (to help get all those wiggles out from staying in all day)
Lindsey Sawyer is a Physical Therapist at Child & Family Development. Physical Therapists provide services to children, teens and young adults with developmental, neurological and congenital impairments. Services can be habilitative (learning a skill for the first time) or rehabilitative (becoming more proficient at a skill or relearning a skill). We focus on improving and adapting a child’s gross motor abilities. Have questions about your child’s development? Schedule a free 15 minute phone consultation with a Physical Therapist today. Need a consultation, evaluation, or treatment? We are open and offering virtual office visits for some visits as well as in-office visits.
Child & Family Development
4012 Park Road, Suite 200
Charlotte, NC 28209
10516 Park Road
Charlotte, NC 28210