When I was a kid, my friends and I used to play games like manhunt, tag or roundup. We would compete with the kids in the neighborhood playing stickball or two-hand-touch football. If you have no idea what these games are, google it. Ask your parents, learn the rules, grab your friends, and run outside.
While we were creating these awesome childhood memories, something else was happening. We were sharpening our hand-eye coordination. Our muscles got stronger. All those hours of jumping and throwing did wonders for our bodies. We were unknowingly developing our gross motor skills.
What Are Gross Motor Skills?
Gross motor skills involve an individual's large muscle groups and whole body movement. They involve the large muscles of the arms, legs, and torso. Gross motor skill development enables children to perform everyday tasks such as crawling, running, jumping, skipping, and throwing a ball.
Here's a list of fun physical activities that Jake learned from his incredibly awesome physical therapist. Try them with your kids to help improve their coordination.
Jumping rope is a great way to improve your child's gross motor coordination. First, get yourself a 10 foot plastic beaded jump rope. These work a lot better than the ones you'd find at a sporting goods store. It creates a rhythmic rattling sound when it hits the floor and helps with your child's timing as they jump over the rope. Try placing a round rubber mat on the floor to encourage your child to jump in place. Challenge your child to jump in place as many times as they can.
Play Ball Paddle Catch:
This is another of Jake's favorite activities. He and his therapist would use a Velcro ball and paddle set to play catch. This is great for building hand - eye coordination. The ball is much softer and smaller than a traditional regulation sized baseball. But I'd still be careful when playing catch indoors. Start the game by getting your child used to catching light tosses. As they become used to catching the ball with the Velcro paddle, take a few paces back.
It's also a good idea to encourage your child to throw the ball with their elbow at equal height with their shoulder for more fluid throws. Instruct your child to keep their eyes on you when they throw.
Build Hand-Eye Coordination Using a Soft Foam Frisbee:
Play catch using a soft foam Frisbee. They're great for young children because they're light and soft enough that they won't cause any damage to you or your child in case you're accidentally hit by one. Just like playing catch, this game is great for improving your child's motor skills.
This was a little difficult in the beginning because Jake had a little difficulty coordinating his left foot and right foot. But he had an amazing physical therapist that made the experience fun and rewarding.
1. Stand next to your child and hold their hand.
2. Instruct your child to lift one foot slightly off the ground and step forward.
3. When that foot lands on the floor, hop using that same foot.
4. Repeat the same movement with the opposite leg.
Do you have a fun activity that you'd like to share? Let us know and we'll add your ideas to our page!