This blog is here for you to find fun learning activities to do with your children. We share great ideas we find and love on the Internet, as well as ideas we come up with on our own! We also like to share resources we find helpful.

To find ideas for your child, click on the age range blog label or on the theme/topic you are looking for (on the left side of the page). In each post, we try to list optimal age ranges for the activity, but you must judge for yourself if it is appropriate for your child. When you try an activity out, please comment and let us (and everyone else) know how your child liked it!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Stork Stands and other Gross Motor Control Activities

Gross Motor activities deal with the large muscles in the body and their movement. It's important for kids to work on gross motor skills to strengthen their large muscle groups. Kids that have trouble with gross motor skills can later have trouble with fine motor skills, like drawing, writing, and cutting.
Here are a few fun things to do with your kiddos to help with gross motor control and strengthening different muscle groups. Many of them require them to focus attention on one or two specific groups and use control to guide the movements.

Rock Backs: For young children, hold them in your lap for this activity. Toddlers may be able to do this on their own. My two year old likes to do it both ways. Whether on your lap or on their own, they are still getting benefits of muscle control and abdominal strengthening.
Sit cross-legged with knees pointing toward the ceiling or sit with your knees toward the ceiling and legs bent and closed. Grab knees and hug. Rock backwards, keeping knees and legs tight into the body. Try to rock back and roll back up to a sitting position. You have to use stabilizing muscles to keep the body in control and abdominal muscles to pull back to a sitting position.

Stork Stands: Standing up tall, hold arms straight out to the side, like an airplane. Take your foot and place the bottom of the foot on the inside of the opposite leg. Try to hold that position for as long as possible. Switch legs! My daughter needed to hold onto the wall first to get her balance.

One leg Raise: Sitting on your bottom, lean back and support yourself with your hands (arms straight). Try to raise just one leg at a time. Then try both at one time. Make sure you aren't leaning back to raise them up, but rather using your abdominal muscles to raise your legs.

Walking while grabbing ankles: Exactly what the name says! Grab your ankles while keeping the legs straight and try to walk.

Wheelbarrow: This is an activity that they need your help with each time. Have your child stand up straight. Then have them place their hands on the floor. Slowly grab their legs and lift. Telling my toddler to walk with her hands was helpful since she wasn't sure what we were doing at first.

Hopscotch: Doing this correctly wasn't really doable the first few times for my toddler. This activity takes lots of practice. Hopping with control on one foot is the first step. Then try hoping on one foot and switching to two feet. We recently got a great hopscotch rug from Wal-Mart that Charis has in her room.
Bubble Wrap Hopping: With all the packages and mailing we do around Christmas, we usually have some bubble wrap left around the house. Today we practiced hopping, jumping over, jumping on the balls of the feet, and jumping into a stradle position over the bubble wrap. She got a kick out of the popping sounds and it helped her focus on landing hard and keeping her balance at the same time.

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