What are Gross Motor Skills?
Having a strong core and a strong base to operate form helps with fine motor skills. If a little one has to learn to print, button, zip etc from a position requiring a lot of work, it will be difficult to do that fine motor skill.
If your child isn’t into team sports that’s ok! Play is actually a great way to work on these skills.
Age Dependent Gross Motor Skills
There are certain milestone that are age typical. Things like developmental coordination disorder, or other neurological atypical issues may cause these motor milestones to develop later than is typical. This doesn’t mean they can’t be an eventual goal, it is simply that more basic ones should be developed first. The skill we speak about in this particular blog post are for children who are already walking and whose cognitive age is a little older.
We’ve put together some ideas to work on with your kids over the rest of the summer while they’re off school. Remember that even during school time gym is not enough. Often children who have challenges in these areas may not be motivated to participate so they get less practice as time goes on, they may even not be as active during recess, and its possible they aren’t motivated during team activities so they get pulled out of sport, or decline going. As they get older theses differences in abilities broaden, not necessarily due to lack of potential, but due to lack of practice and participation. Children who are active are more likely to be active adolescents and active adults. Help support your children in this physical literacy aspect of their development and future health.
Sitting to read, and print or paint requires core strength. Difficulties with printing and hand strength can often be linked with a decrease in core strength. Help strengthen sitting posture by strengthening the core.
Playing on the swings. Sitting and swinging is awesome, but also “superkids” laying on the stomach on the swing can be fun!
Stability ball (supervised) fun. We have a peanut shaped, burst resistant ball in our clinic for less areas to move. Sitting on the ball is fun! If the feet don’t touch the ground make sure you support at the hips or thighs. You can gently rock the ball forward, back and side to side. Change it up so they can’t guess!
Crab-walks – races are always fun, but carrying toys on the tummy, or weaving through some obstacles is fun!
Bear Walks and Inch Worms – These are just what they sound like. Hands and feet are on the ground. Bear walks move around just like this, hands and feet on the ground, forward backwards, side to side. Inc worms Ince the hands and feet further and the closer together! Play and pretend is so much fun! Younger kids may be more inclined to develop the game as you go with imagination. Older kids may not and using cards or points is always fun! These activities are also amazing to strengthen and weightier through the upper extremity.
Frog jumps – get low with the bottom down and jump from tadpole to tadpole.
Hop scotch – single leg hopping is awesome for balance, power, strength. Use a sidewalk chalk and draw out your route.
Bunny hops– tiny 2 legged hops. Try forward backwards and side to side.
Monster jumps – forwards and vertically. Jump high, jump far, try to be sneaky and land softly. Use sidewalk chalk to mark the best jump.
Do you remember rolling down hills? Rolling one direction and then other is great for coordination, the core, as well as the vestibular system
A lot of the above activities help with running. Running requires, strength, power and coordination. Running doesn’t always have to be a race or in a sport. It’s not motivating to work on and try when you’re not one of the fastest. Set up a fun game with activities where you have to run from station to station, do a shuttle run, set up an obstacle course that also incorporates the other activities. Water fights are fun in warmer weather with some space to run! Buckets and sponges are all you need!
Most of these activities don’t need equipment and can be done with play. Be active with your little little ones. It won’t feel like work when they’re having fun! Consistency is key but don’t push the exercises. Move on when they’re done or change the game. Have fun with them!
We’re happy to have an individualized assessment in our Oakville Physiotherapy clinic for your child if you have concerns. We provide some play based exercises specific to your child and may suggest activities in the community also. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (905) 582-9700 for more information of Paediatric Physiotherapy.