6 Outdoor Activities to Develop Gross Motor Skills

Three young boys climbing on a jungle gym and smiling.For many kids, this is the best time of year. School’s out for the summer, and the weather is at its warmest. It’s prime time for playing outside and enjoying the sunshine and fresh air.

In addition to keeping kids entertained, outdoor activities can also help them develop their motor skills. Last June, we listed ways that children can hone their fine motor skills while enjoying the summer weather. This year, we have some ideas to share to help kids develop gross motor skills, which involve using the large muscles in your arms, legs and torso to make movements that use the whole body (think jumping or climbing), according to Understood.org.

Here’s a list of some fun exercises to improve gross motor skills while also spending time outside this summer, according to Understood.org and Van Nguyen, SPT, a physical therapy student on clinical at Little Steps.

1. Playing on the jungle gym at the park. Climbing around on jungle gyms and swinging from monkey bars can keep kids entertained, build strength and improve their sense of balance and coordination.

2. Playing baseball. This sport is a classic pastime and an ideal activity for developing gross motor skills, as children must use those abilities to hit and catch the ball, as well as run the bases.

3. Going swimming. A trip to the pool helps kids cool off on hot summer days and serves as whole-body exercise.

4. Hopscotch. All you need for this activity is some chalk and a driveway, sidewalk or blacktop to play on. Hopping and jumping are not only fun but also develop balance and coordination.

5. Chasing bubbles or balloons. Following the unpredictable movements of floating objects involves running and maintaining balance in ways that improve motor skills. It can also keep kids enthralled for a while as they race to pop as many bubbles as possible or keep a balloon from touching the ground.

6. Jumping on a trampoline. A trampoline is not only extremely entertaining for most kids but is also a valuable tool for improving their sense of balance. Just make sure your child has adequate supervision and knows to follow safety instructions.

For more ideas for activities to improve gross motor skills, check out The Inspired Treehouse and Friendship Circle.

If your child seems to have trouble with gross motor skills, a pediatric occupational therapist and/or pediatric physical therapist can help. Kids who have difficulty with gross motor skills might have issues with balance, strength, endurance and coordination, which can affect their ability to walk, hop, play catch and climb stairs, among other daily activities.

To learn more about our pediatric therapy services and gross motor skill development, contact us today by calling 847-707-6744 or emailing info@littlestepspt.com.

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