Wednesday, March 30, 2016

On the Move!

Have you ever wondered why we have your toddlers and preschoolers dance, wave their arms, or do other funny things during storytimes and other library programs? It’s not just fun; it’s helping them develop their gross motor skills! Gross motor skills are large body movements that are made with arms, legs, feet, or the entire body. These movements include walking, running, sitting, and climbing. These skills are very important for children because they can help them sit still for long periods in school, play on the playground by chasing, jumping, skipping, and kicking balls, and even read and write! Children who have a good grip on their gross motor skills can use one hand to hold and adjust a piece of paper while the other hand writes, and their eyes can easily track the words on an entire open book.

So how can you, as a parent or caregiver, help your toddler and preschooler build up these skills? Here are some fun activities that you can try:

-Go for walks in places that may involve a lot of different surfaces. Walking on grass, sand, gravel, or anything uneven will strengthen their balance.

-Place soft things like blankets, cushions, and pillows on the floor and let your child jump around on them. The action, combined with the uneven surface, will give them a workout. Plus, if they fall, there’s a soft place to land!

-Place a large piece of paper on the floor, and have your child color it. The change in position, while still grasping the crayon, will work different muscles and have them shift their weight in different ways.

-Create obstacle courses for your child out of toys you already own, such as blocks, hula hoops, or even furniture! Crawling, jumping, and climbing through the course will be fun and will build their motor skills.

-Encourage your child to play with balls and throw, kick, and chase them everywhere!

Guest post by Sarah H. 

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