Normally schools and daycares play a major part in developing the motor skills of very young children by engaging them in various physical activities. However, with the advent of the worldwide pandemic, many schools ended the school year early and day care options have been sporadic due to mandated shutdowns. Fortunately, there are many simple things parents can do at home to ensure their child is receiving the right amount of playtime to participate in physical activity, develop fine motor skills, and have fun at the same time.
Encourage Daily Movement Breaks
Prior to the pandemic, children were typically encouraged to engage in physical activity during recess, or they had regular exercise breaks at daycare. If a child no longer has access to these types of activities, the burden of encouraging activity falls on the parents. Simple exercises such as dancing to music, bear crawling, log rolling, or jumping up and down on a trampoline for a few minutes several times a day, will do much to help children stay physically active and burn off excess energy.
Make Some Play-Doh or Bake With Your Child
Kids can have fun and enjoy some time with mom or dad in the kitchen by mixing up some Play-Doh. Most online recipes for Play-Doh include basic items found in any kitchen such as flour, salt, food colorings, vegetable oil, and water. Children can have fun during the mixing process and will enjoy making the finished product into various shapes and sizes. In addition, spending an afternoon baking cookies or making a cake is a great way to teach a child fine motor skills, and they learn how following directions can lead to a positive outcome.
Play Row Your Boat
Siblings can play this game together or a parent and child can do so as well. Have the two people sit on the floor, facing each other. Either grasp each other's wrists or each hold a section of a jump rope and see-saw back and forth in time to the "Row, Row, Row, Your Boat" song. This is a fun way to burn off excess energy and the back and forth see-saw motion works the core muscles of both participants.
There are many low or no cost activities parents can do at home with their children that can challenge a child's physical abilities and help them develop motor skills. Simple activities ranging from marching around the home to music or doing some finger painting at the kitchen table will help keep kids busy and engaged.
To learn more about this and related topics, visit the Healthcare section of our blog.
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