Developing gross motor skills is an essential part of childhood! Motor development is actually the mediator of cognition, social, and emotional development. Michigan’s cold winters can put a stop to most gross motor play. Swing sets and play structures are no longer available for children to assist in gross motor development and provide them with the sensory input they are needing. Here are some great indoor suggestions to help provide children with the sensory input they are needing as well as assisting in their development.
Animal walks! These simple activities can occupy a child as well as improve their core muscles, upper body strength, and lower body strength. These exercises will also improve gross motor development! Here is 15 different types of animal walks which can be made into a game. Crab walk, bear walk, frog jumps, alligator push ups, snake slither, donkey kicks, turtle crawl, kangaroo jumps, whale swim, gorilla walk, inchworm crawl, elephant walk, and octopus wiggles. Here is a link to all the different animal walks! http://lemonlimeadventures.com/animal-walks-sensory-diet/
There are many different variations to using animal walks such as finding a puzzle or game to play. Place the puzzle pieces on one end of the room and the board on the other end of the room about 10 feet away. Select an animal walk to complete to obtain a puzzle piece. Then, have the child walk over to the puzzle board and put in place. Continue until the puzzle is done and switch the animal walk each time. You can have the multiple children complete in a line or this can be done with one child.