Spring is finally here and after a long winter of being cooped up indoors it’s time to get outside and play. Not only do outdoor play activities give kids the chance to be active, burn off energy and get some fresh air, but many activities promote gross motor skills. This is important, especially for younger children, as they develop and strengthen these skills to run, jump and navigate their environment.
Outdoor Activities to Develop Gross Motor Skills
Here are some suggestions to help your child build gross motor skills while having fun outside.
It’s that time of year when we are starting to spruce up the yard. Let your child help you with some of these tasks. They’ll love getting their hands dirty while helping you pick up sticks, pull weeds and plant flowers!
Go for a Walk
Take a walk around your neighborhood after dinner. As you walk explore your surroundings and look for different colors or count items you see. You can even add some variety to your walk and encourage your child to skip, hop or jog along the way.
Playing catch with a ball not only develops gross motor skills but it helps with hand-eye coordination. For young children, use a larger ball that is easier for them to catch. You can even have them chase and try to catch balloons or bubbles.
Visit the Park or Playground
Who doesn’t love a visit to the park? There are many things kids can do to promote gross motor skills on the playground, such as walking up the stairs to the slide, swinging and climbing on the jungle gym.
Create an Obstacle Course
Set up an outdoor obstacle course using hula hoops, pool noodles, balls, buckets, jump ropes and playground equipment. Time your child to see how fast he or she can complete the course.
There are so many outdoor games that kids enjoy that require no equipment. Tag, Red Light Green Light, Simon Says and hopscotch are a few favorites. For older children you can practice sports such as soccer, baseball or basketball.
Color with Sidewalk Chalk
Your child needs to squat when drawing on the sidewalk and this helps strengthen their legs and core. Holding the chalk also promotes fine motor skills. Kids will have fun creating masterpieces for the neighborhood to admire.