While you and your toddler are cooped up at home during this time of Covid-19, why not get creative and build some simple gross motor activities for your child using household items.
1)Soft Toy Throwing Game
This is a great game to play with your child, as it helps develop their arm muscles, while they learn to throw underarm.
- empty box or crate (anything big enough to contain the toys).
- a selection of small soft toys to throw.
- masking tape.
Place the box in a spacious area. Cut a piece of masking tape and place it on the floor for your child to stand on. Make sure the distance isn't too far, so your child is able to reach the box when your child throws the toy. Demonstrate to your child how to play and then commence the game. If you have older children, you could move the box further away to create more of a challenge.
Creating an obstacle course with your toddler is always so much fun. You could use all sorts of items in your house. For instance, you could use an upside chair or small table for your child to crawl under; some cardboard boxes or crates to climb into and out of; a small stool to step onto and off; a rolled up piece of carpet or a thick large bath towel for your child to walk across and learn how to balance; some pillows to jump onto; or even a sofa to climb on and crawl across and then climb down. Make sure you organise it in a circle, so your toddler can keep going around a few times.
Hop scotch is a great way for your toddler to learn to hop and balance. All you need is a piece of chalk and a footpath in the backyard or some carpet inside. Label each square with a number and when your child hops on a square, ask him/her to count. Great activity for learning how to count while exercising.
Variations to this game are:
- Numbered cardboard squares
- Numbered carpet tiles (check gumtree or the green shed for some second hand ones)
4)Kicking a Balloon
This game is great fun. It gets your child to exercise all his/her muscles while playing the game. Blow up a balloon with air, then demonstrate how to kick, hit, elbow or head butt it etc. The aim of the game is to make sure the balloon doesn't hit the floor.
Play a game of Simon Says and ask your child to do some action movements like hopping on the spot, running on the spot, touching their toes repeatedly or dancing on the spot. Make sure you mix up the Simon says instructions with the normal instructions and watch how your child slowly learns to listen more carefully, before completing the action movement. This is a good listening activity.
Ball games are another way to develop the arm muscles and leg muscles. You can also make the game more interesting by saying a letter from the alphabet or a number from 1 to 10, as you and your child catch the ball.
There are so many simple games and activities you can do at home to keep your toddler active without purchasing expensive equipment for him/her to exercise their gross motor muscles. I believe that the best exercise is to take your child for a walk around your neighbourhood. Make sure you talk to your toddler about the different birds, bees, insects, trees and leaves. Laugh and enjoy the walk with your toddler, as he/she learns all about nature while exercising.