With summer coming, it’s time for parents to expand their bag of tricks. Creating a ready list of games and activities geared to keep your child entertained while helping him build essential skills Horizon Summer Campcan prevent the dreaded summertime chant -- “I’m bored. There’s nothing to do.” -- from being heard in your home.

Most physical activities help children develop the gross motor skills that enable them to control the large muscles in their trunks, arms and legs. Activities that involve running, jumping, kicking, throwing, catching and rolling all exercise the body’s large muscle groups and help children develop and hone gross motor skills. Babies will obviously need assistance manipulating large muscle groups. At the infant stage, parents can help their child build large muscle strength by moving his arms and legs and helping him to sit up, roll over, crawl, stand and eventually walk. Bouncy chairs, hanging toys, Johnny Jump-Up seats, activity rings and walkers all encourage infants to build and exercise arm, leg and trunk muscles.

As children gradually gain better control over their bodies and enter the toddler years, they will be able to mimic your actions. You may still need to physically assist your child in moving his body to help him understand how to perform a motion, but your toddler’s growing independence can quickly turn demonstrable learning into a battle of wills. Toddlers prefer to “do it myself” and generally learn more effectively by mimicking the actions of their parents, siblings, day care teachers and classmates.

Horizon Education Centers provide quality child care and summer programs for children ages 18 month to 12 years.