Why is gross motor important for your children?
Gross motor is incredibly important in enabling children to perform everyday tasks and have the endurance to complete them with confidence. Activities such as sitting upright at a table, walking, running and standing are all movements that are influenced by gross motor strength.
Poor gross motor strength can also affect children’s fine motor control, such as drawing, writing, holding cutlery, tying shoelaces and doing up buttons. It can also affect children’s concentration when completing tasks.
Here are some fun and easy gross motor activities your children can do at home!
Help your child to draw a hopscotch pattern with chalk or use bits of cloth. Hopscotch develops your child’s ability to jump, balance on one leg, hop in different directions and improve motor accuracy.
Handball against a wall
Handball against a wall is perfect for hand-eye coordination, accuracy and balance! You can also draw with chalk targets to bounce the ball onto.
Kneeling on the ground, play balloon volleyball. Try to keep the balloon off the ground for as long as you can and ensure your child doesn’t rest their bottom on their feet when kneeling. This will help develop their core strength, crossing the mid-line and hand-eye coordination!
Masking tape balance beam obstacle course
Have your child create a course using masking tape as the ‘beams’ to get to the end. To make this activity more challenging, have your child walk it sideways like a crab, or add a beanbag on their head. This activity will help assist your child in balance, coordination and core strength.
String challenge between chairs
Using 4 chairs and some string, make an obstacle course using the string that your child must climb through. By wrapping the string across and zig-zagged between the chairs, your child must make it to the other end without getting stuck! This will work on coordination, core strength, motor planning and spatial awareness.
Butchers paper drawing and painting
Butchers paper is a great way to let your child be creative while drawing or painting! Place the paper either over the floor or stuck up on the wall and have your child draw/paint sitting cross-legged, standing, or lying on their tummy. This activity will work their core strength, fine motor strength, shoulder strength and encourage them to use their imagination!
Summer outdoor kitchen activity
This is probably one of my favourite summer activities! Get your child outdoors (slip, slop, slap) and playing with buckets of water. Old tubs, pans and kitchen utensils can be used for this one. Get your child to fill up some tubs with water and let them enjoy pretending to make potions or foods using leaves and dirt. It can get a little messy, so best to stick to this one outside.
The transferring of water from bucket to pots all works the upper and lower body strength. Stirring and picking leave and dirt and creating ‘meals’ will work their fine motor skills.
Bouncing on a trampoline is a fun activity for improving coordination, rhythm and aerobic fitness. The surface of a trampoline is constantly moving which is great for improving balance. Add a few balls and play a jumping game trying to avoid getting touched by the balls!
The benefits of having strong, gross motor strength are endless!
By having well-developed core strength, your child can complete everyday activities with ease, such as opening a lunch box, sitting at a school desk for extended periods of time and getting dressed independently. But most importantly, your child will have the confidence in themselves to be able to complete any task they desire!