Hopping and jumping is great for kids with “beans” after lessons. These activities require strong muscles, balance and coordination. Give your child lots of practice. Change the hopscotch pattern so he fine-tunes his sense of balance by hopping on two legs, then one. Don’t let cold or wet outside deter you: create an indoor hopscotch game with masking tape.
Break out the bubbles (or balloons).
Have your child chase bubbles and try to pop as many as possible. Or blow up small balloons and ask him to keep them afloat by bouncing them with his open palm. Either game gives a child great practice for hand-eye coordination as well as gross motor skills.
Roll down a hill.
Take your child to a gently sloping hill and practice rolling down. Body rolling will help him become aware of the relationship between his upper and lower body.
Discovering what the body can do is exciting. Fire up your child’s imagination and movement through pretend games. Ask him to jump like a frog, waddle like a duck, fly like a plane or hop like a rabbit. Or he can pretend to be something, and you have to guess what he is.
Set up an indoor obstacle course.
Obstacle courses are a great way to get your child moving in all sorts of ways – to balance, crawl, jump and run. Use furniture, pillows and blankets to create areas he’ll need to crawl on, under and through. Try to set up obstacles that are a challenge!
I feel like dancing, dancing – yeah!
Dancing to music helps build your child’s awareness of rhythm. Music is an excellent tool for developing spatial awareness, as well as sensitivity to rhythm and sequences, while it improves his gross motor skills. Songs with lyrics that call for movement, such as “I’m a Little Teapot” or “The Hokey Pokey,” are also great ways to get his body moving in coordinated ways.
Swings and roundabouts.
Swinging on a swing set helps your child develop balance. It also requires him to coordinate shifting weight and moving his legs back and forth. Other ways to develop gross motor skills on the playground include going up and down on a slide, balancing on the roundabout and climbing up equipment.
Try easy balancing acts.
Practice balancing by staying on the ground. Extend a piece of string or tape in a straight line on the floor and have your child practice walking on it. Or create a backyard balance beam with some long cuts of wood laid out on the lawn.