We’ve been talking about activities that help toddlers and preschoolers develop gross motor skills by exercising the large muscles in the legs, arms and trunk. Today, we continue our list of summer games that parents can play with their children to encourage gross motor skilldevelopment:
- Head for the nearest playground for an hour of swinging, climbing and sliding.
- Bouncy houses, ball pits and climbing tubes at indoor play parks also provide good exercise.
- Practice rolling, kicking, throwing and catching balls with your child. Use large Nerf balls or soft, lightweight rubber or plastic balls.
- Play Tag, Follow the Leader, Ring Around the Rosie, London Bridge, Duck Duck Goose, Simon Says and Red Light/Green Light. At toddler and preschool ages, focus on active games where everyone gets to play. Wait until children reach school age to introduce elimination games and games that require children to be still or take turns.
- To practice balancing, hold your child’s hand while he walks along a curb or low wall. Create a balance beam in your yard by laying a 2x4 board on the ground (stake the ends to prevent it from moving). Or create a circus high wire by placing a line of masking tape on the basement floor.
- Ride-on toys, tricycles and scooters provide excellent large muscle exercise.
- Provide your child with toys that can be pushed and pulled, such as large trucks and cars; wagons; and play shopping carts, lawn mowers and vacuum cleaners.
- Engage in imaginary play with your child. Pretend to be super heroes, airplanes, zoo animals, galloping horses, etc.