Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Get Moving!

We were lucky enough to have some experts join us at the library last week at our annual Kindergarten: Ready or Not? program. A panel of local kindergarten teachers spoke to parents and caregivers about some ideal traits and skills of incoming kindergarten students. One of the fabulous teachers, Joely Hastings from Primary Village South, covered the topic of motor skills for kindergarten readiness. Since some of the ideas she mentioned were terrific and so simple and easy to do at home, I thought I’d share a few of them here.

Gross Motor Skills (core/upper body strength):

-Visit playgrounds regularly. Activities like climbing and hopscotch are especially good ones for developing gross motor skills. If your child is starting a new school soon, try taking him to the playground at that school. It’ll help him be more comfortable when school starts.

-Encourage “tummy time.” Yes, you read that right; “Tummy time” isn’t just for babies! It’s actually really effective in strengthening core muscles. Have your child read, draw, and play board games while she’s lying on her stomach on the floor. If you want to get really fancy, you can play rolling-pin ball, where two people, each with a rolling pin, lie on their stomachs across from each other and pass a ball back and forth, using the rolling pin.

Fine Motor Skills (hand-muscle strength and dexterity):

-Practice using clothes fasteners, like zippers, snaps, and buttons. It will definitely require a little more time to get ready before going places, but letting your child work on these skills on his own is really helpful in improving those fine motor skills.

-Do activities with clothespins. Working with clothespins really helps your child’s pincer grasp, which will make writing a lot easier. Get creative with it—write letters or numbers on the clothespins and have your child spell her name or put numbers in order along the edge of a shoebox. 

These are just a few of my favorite ideas that Joely mentioned at our program. If you like them and want more suggestions, she recommends a blog called OT Mom Learning Activities, which includes lots more fun and easy exercises.

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