August and September are some of the nicest months in the Portland Metro area. It is the perfect time of year to play outdoors. There are a number of activities that can be done in your own yard, driveway, or neighborhood that can help children develop their motor skills. This blog post is focusing on some “oldies, but goodies” – activities that adults may have done as kids that still have their benefits!
- Hopscotch: An old favorite that works on strength, motor planning, and coordination. Mix up the traditional game by creating different patterns of the square, by hopping one foot, jumping with both feet or alternating feet.
- Jump roping: Jump roping requires visual motor coordination with timing and motor planning. Start simple by gently rocking a rope between two people and having your child jump over it. Progress to doing full revolutions and having a child try by him/herself. Skipping, hopping, and going backwards are fun ways to mix it up.
- Hula hoop: Move those hips and see how many revolutions you can do! Hula hooping requires coordination of the trunk and pelvis while working on the core. You can mix it up by adding multiple hula hoops or by trying to keep the hoop going around an arm or leg.
- Tag: You’re it! A great activity for cardiovascular endurance. Mix it up with different versions such as freeze tag to work on balance or let your kids come up with a variation. There is an extensive list of tag games here ()
- Bike riding: A great family activity! Bike riding can be done from toddlers on up using Skuut bikes or tricycles, progressing to training wheels, and then riding a two wheeler. Biking is a great way to explore your community while developing cardiovascular fitness, balance, and coordination.
All of these activities can become even more entertaining with friends and music! If you can remember any of the songs or games from your preschool days, teach your kids – they will love playing with you. Or, mix the activities into an obstacle course to work towards a cold treat as a reward.
Our therapists at Beyond the Clinic can be of assistance to families who are looking to increase their physical activity or to children who seem to be having a harder time these activities than their peers. We can be reached at (503) 496-0385or at [email protected] with any questions!
(Blog post courtesy of Crystal Bridges, DPT)