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!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Coloring: A gross motor activity?

At 2.5 my daughter has gone through a love-hate relationship with coloring. One week she loves it, the next barely tolerates it. Don't be discouraged if your child doesn't enjoy coloring yet. Keep on trying!
We all know coloring works on fine motor skills. However, there are ways to develop gross motor skills at the same time. Here's a few examples:
1. We have an art desk that has the chair and inclined desk attached. We got it for her when she was 18 months old and she still has to sit/stand on her knees to color. Believe it or not, this is a gross-motor activity. Find a place your child can reach by sitting on their knees (or standing on their knees) and have a spot to color. That may be knees on the floor and coloring on the seat of a chair, or taping a piece of paper a little higher than normal on a wall or door. This way they have to use their legs, hips, and stabilizing muscles to color.

2. Taping paper on the floor and letting them color. I tape butcher paper (huge sheets of it) to the kitchen floor when I cook sometimes and let her color. They have to get on their hands and knees and color. When they do this, they use arm and leg muscles as well making their hip and shoulders stronger. Keep and eye on them, as my daughter tires out this way and ends up laying belly down and coloring with her eyes about a millimeter away from the paper.
3. Thanks to our school OTs that recommended this! Tape a piece of paper on the wall or door or put a piece of paper on an art easel for them to color on. (You can also do this with a chalkboard.) Place pillows or cushions on the floor where they'll have to stand on them in order to color/draw/paint. The soft floor provides a slightly unstable surface to stand on and allows them to work muscles while trying to stabilize themselves by shifting their hips and weight. Kind of like the idea of walking on pavement vs. walking in the sand.
4. Can't remember who told me about this one, sorry! I haven't tried this one yet, but it looks interesting. Again, tape a large piece of paper on the wall/door. Have your child lay on the floor, toes almost touching the wall. Have them grasp the crayon with their toes and try to draw on the paper. This will take coordination, use of abdominal and leg muscles, and a lot of control. Have them try to draw lines horizontally and vertically. Try drawing a circle. You can even use your hands to slighly guide them and help.
Have fun!!

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