Did you know that the upcoming summer holidays are the best time to help your child with their gross motor skills? Plus it’s so very easy…

Choose a time and place to do regular 20 -30 minute exercise routines with your child. Any gross motor skills that include the action of push, pull, carry or climb in some way are best. We suggest the following activities:

  • Climbing walls, frames and monkey bars
  • Balancing on balance beams, balance pods, hoper balls, and trampolines
  • Gardening together, pushing wheelbarrows and playing in the garden
  • Playing with water and sand at the beach; you can carry buckets, dig holes and build sand castles
  • Crawling on all fours down the hallway passage while pushing a toy car
  • Going for a walk at one of our many beaches or inland forest area, climbing over logs and looking for insects

5 Reasons why these activities are so important

  1. Body image develops through an understanding and experience of our body moving through space. It is not possible to relate to experiences away from our body, until we understand our body.
  2. These experiences contribute significantly to the development of awareness of the two sides of our body (left and right). Understanding that we have two sides to our body enables us to understand directionality (left from right) and therefore also position in space.
  3. Concepts such as on top of, underneath, beside, inside or outside are also more easily understood once we know how to do this with our own body.
  4. Weight bearing on hands and knees helps to develop the arches of the hand that provide stability for function and fine motor pencil control.
  5. Resistance to joints (when pushing or pulling) helps to provide proprioceptive input through our sense that enables us to be able to move our limbs in a coordinated manner away from our body, without the need to constantly be watching our hands or feet when we do so.
  6. Climbing, marching, crawling and other whole body (gross motor movements facilitate the complex task of reflex inhibition, which is what enables us to perform complex midline crossing tasks with balance and finesse over time

Homework for the holidays?
Get outside and play with your child. Have fun while providing opportunity, facilitating success and just being their best support. Always encourage them to keep trying, every child moves forward at their own pace!

Beryl Smith, Occupational Therapist, and Sarah Jones, Stage 1 Coordinator (Kindergarten, Year 1 and Year 2)