Gross motor skills are one of the most essential parts of a child's physical development and influence some of our everyday functions such as running, jumping and even crawling.
Weak gross motor skills can affect balance, laterality, body awareness, spatial orientation and major muscle coordination.
Some children reach developmental milestones at different rates and typically a child with severe delays in gross motor skills should see an occupational or physical therapist but there are a number of activities that parents can do at home to help improve and promote their development.
If your child needs help in developing gross motor skills, here are nine fun activities you can try at home.
Buy a big bucket of yard chalk the next time you head to the shops and create a simple hopscotch board in the garden. Using a bean bag, let your child toss, throw and jump to their heart's content.
Park dates can have many benefits for kids with gross motor delays. Encourage your child to climb, swing and jump using playground equipment to work their core. Try to get your child to use unstable equipment such as swings, ropes and wobbly bridges, another great way to help work trunk muscles.
Song and dance.
Simple interactive games and sing-along nursery rhymes such as Simon Says, I'm a Little Teapot, The Hokey Pokey, Ring around the Rosie and playing musical statues are great for body awareness and movement planning.
Get your kid moving inside the house by using pillows, blankets, hula-hoops and chairs to create an obstacle course. Challenge them to crawl, hop, skip and jump with whatever tools you have.
Move like an animal.
Create a safe space in your home or out the back garden to get your child moving their muscles. Keep the body active by walking on all fours like a bear, wiggling like a snake and stomping like an elephant.
Using painters tape, create an indoor balance beam on the floor of your home. Make the lines round, straight and zigzag. Challenge your child to walk each line from start to finish.
Bubbles are such a simple idea and help promote a variety of skills including the muscles in the mouth needed for speech-language. Blowing bubbles is a great way to keep them on their toes as they run back and forth to try to pop as many as they possibly can.
Jumping on a trampoline is such a simple and fun activity which can help improve balance and it is a great way to wear them out. You could blow up a couple of coloured balloons and challenge your child to keep them up in the air.