Gross motor skills are a huge part of childcare and school. These skills are essential in everyday life. If a child has poor gross motor skills, it can impact all areas of their lives. Since summer is finally here, we wanted to provide you with some outdoor activities that enhance gross motor skills.
1.Exploring. Take the children in your program outside in nature and let them explore. This can be done by giving them free choice of what they would like to do, picking flowers, a walk, or an outdoor scavenger hunt. All of these examples will help children to process different textures and help them figure out what they like to do when they are playing outside.
2.Climbing Hills. If you have hills or uneven surfaces in your outdoor area, this is a great experience for children to build strength and endurance. If you do not have this available in your outdoor area, don’t worry. We have other things for you.
3.Coloring with Sidewalk Chalk. This one has a bonus benefit. Not only will children improve their gross motor skills when squatting down to draw, it will also help improve their fine motor skills, which are also essential. Go a little old school and draw a hopscotch path for the children to play on.
4.Open-Ended Toys. Toys like hula hoops and jump ropes can be used in various ways in developing gross motor skills. These toys require children to be in constant motion while playing with them.
5.Water Play. This is great in hot weather. Children love playing with water and will love to cool down on a hot day. This activity can be something simple like filling up buckets or cups with water and carrying them around to water plants. Water tables are great too for younger children.
6.Sports. If the children in your care are older, put together teams and play a ball game, like kickball, soccer, or baseball. Games like this will also help develop their hand-eye coordination, social skills, taking turns, and motor planning.
7.Outdoor painting projects. This one is great because painting can be messy, but you are outdoors so it’s a win-win. Lay down large pieces of craft paper and have children paint big pictures. You can even have them paint with their hands or feet for added mess and fun!
8.Yard Work. If you are lucky to have a garden or plants in your flower beds, have the children help maintain these. They can help pull weeds, water the plants, or picking up sticks. Anytime they bend down to pick something up, they are strengthening their legs and improving balance.
Excerpts found at Friendship Circle