GROSS MOTOR SKILLS
The development of gross motor skills is essential to free, coordinated, integrated movement and is a prerequisite to learning readiness. Without adequate gross motor development, the child is most likely under constant strain, building tensions and behaviorisms that could hamper learning. The following activities are designed to help develop and strengthen gross motor ability.
- Most all weight-reducing exercises are excellent developmental activities for strengthening and coordinating muscles to insure freedom and differentiated movement of body parts.
- Vary the movement exercises-have the child move his whole body, part of the body, or more than one part of the body:
- Up, down, in, out, over, under, back, forth, towards goals or through obstacles (such as through a chair’s legs, through a cardboard box, or under a table).
- Swing, sway, push, pull, shake, turn, etc…
- Reach, point, touch, bend, stretch, etc…
- Grasp, release, push, pull, thrust, etc…
- Imitate objects, animals, etc… (such as “Sway like a tree”, “fly like a bird”, “walk like an animal”).
- Alter the force of the movements-smooth, easy, thrusting, hard, etc…
- Alter the pace of the movements-slow, fast, let your child set his own movement, etc…
- Swimming is an excellent activity for differentiating body movements which help develop gross motor skills.
- Catch, bounce, and throw a ball-start with a big, soft rubber ball (basketballs are sometimes too hard for certain children) and work up to a small rubber ball.
- Have your child place both feet on the floor with eyes closed and balance, arms extended out at the sides. If this is easily done, have your child place one foot on the floor, eyes open, and balance. As he gains in ability, repeat the activity with eyes closed.
- Hike on familiar terrain and then non familiar terrain.
- Walk up and down stairs, whenever possible. Later, have your child balance an object such as a book on his head as he climbs up and down the stairs.
- Have your child hop in one place-first with both feet and then with each foot. Finally, have him hop alternately from one foot to the other, gradually building up the tempo.
- Running, jumping, galloping, etc…are necessary activities for motor development. Make double sure your child can do these skills well.