I'm not just a PT, I'm also a parent!

I'm not just a PT, I'm also a parent!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Cheap, Easy Ways to Work on Your Child's Gross Motor Development

Parents ask me all the time what they can do to help their child's gross motor development and the best answer I can give is to play!  If Mom or Dad acts like a therapist, trust me, your child will rebel!  Here are some fun, easy things that you can do with things you already have at home:

  • Use a board, curb, or low wall as a balance beam.
  • Play ball!
    • start with rolling and corraling a large ball while sitting
    • progress to tossing a small ball in standing
    • have your child extend his/her arms out in front to practice catching (start with a balloon or beach ball)
    • throw at a target
  • A piece of rope can be used as a balance beam, something to step over, or something to jump over
  • If you don't have stairs, have your child practice stepping up and down a curb or stool
  • Make obstacle courses that would make your child have to move over, under, around, and through things
  • Play Follow the Leader or Simon Says
  • Move to music
    • try fingerplay to songs like "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" or "Twinkle, Twinkle"
    • Perform actions that correspond with lyrics: march to "The Ants go Marching," skip to "Skip to My Lou," do the Hokey Pokey
    • Unstructured dancing is always fun and your child may surprise him or herself by doing something new like standing on one foot or jumping or spinning
  • Have your child bend down and pick things up from the ground then reach up to hand them to you or put them on a shelf or table.

*All activities should be performed with adult supervision.  If your child has difficulty, please help him or her -- safety is of utmost importance!*

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