Summertime Fun with

It’s summertime and one of the best times for kids to go
outside and do some activities to build important gross motor skills, strengthen
muscles, increase balance and coordination, motor planning and endurance.
There are all kinds of things they can do outside like the
regular activities of riding a bike, running, jumping rope, skipping, galloping,
jumping on the trampoline, playing on the swing set and going to the park.

Summer is a great time, but if it gets too hot outside, just jump in the pool and cool off with a swim.  
Running through the sprinkler and tossing water balloons are other fun
activities to stay cooled off.  Swimming is a great way to strengthen those muscles and make them work
without the kids even knowing it.

Here are some more great activities that your child (and
you) can do to help increase strength, balance, coordination, motor planning,
endurance and overall gross motor skills:

  • Younger
    kids love bubbles!  Blow some bubble
    and have them stomp the bubbles, making sure that they use both the left
    and the right foot to stomp.  Then
    blow some bubbles high and have them reach for them where they are
    standing on their tip toes.  Chasing
    bubbles is also a great activity.
  • Make
    hopscotch out of sidewalk chalk. 
    Make sure when your child is hopping on one foot they alternate,
    one time with the left foot and then one time with the right foot.
  • Walking
    on the curb with one foot in front of the other or draw a straight line
    with sidewalk chalk and walk the line with one foot in front of the other.
  • Scavenger
    hunts are good for all ages.  You
    can put the clues:
    • Down
      low so the child has to squat and then stand back up
    • Up
      high so the child has to reach on their tip toes
    • Where
      they have an obstacle that they have to step over or climb over
    • Where
      they have to climb up and down a couple steps
    • Where
      they have to walk on uneven ground such as grass, gravel, sand, etc.
  • Obstacle
    courses – make them fun with simple things you have around the house.  Here are couple of ideas:
o   Fill
plastic bottles with water and put them in a zig zag pattern to run or hop
o   Jump
over soft pool noodles or a garden hose
o   Use
a board or garden hose as a tightrope
o   Crawl
through boxes or army crawl across a blanket or sheet
o   Toss
balls or beanbags into a basket or bucket
o   Kick
a ball at a target (alternating feet when kicking)
o   Set
hula hoops down and jump from hula hoop to hula hoop
o   Run,
skip, gallop, run backwards, crab crawl, bear crawl
o   Use
Frisbees, horse shoes, bouncy balls, etc.
o   Put
a broomstick across a couple chairs to go under or do the limbo 
There is so much to do outside, just make it fun and enjoy!
Debbie Stevenson, PTA