Good motor skills allow a child to explore the world and helps their cognitive development. But what are these motor skills and how is it helping our children?
Gross Motor development involves the larger, stronger muscles of the body. During the early childhood years, it is the development of these muscles that enable the child to hold his/her head up, sit, crawl and eventually walk, run and skip.
Examples: Walking, running, skipping, jumping, swimming etc.
Preschoolers do have a lot of energy, which they use in many ways than when they were toddlers. Instead of just running around, a preschooler has the physical skills and coordination to ride a tricycle.
By being around with other children, a preschooler gains important social skills, such as sharing, caring and taking turns. Preschoolers learn to co-operate and interact with peers during play.
Keeping Preschoolers Active:
If sports weren’t a must, then what should be on a preschooler’s schedule? Best way is to engage your child in activities that are fun for them and challenging, but not beyond his or her abilities. Preschoolers learn to hop, skip, and jump forward, and they like to show how they are able to balance on one foot, catch a ball and so on.
They also enjoy running, hopping, jumping, swimming, hiking, dancing, and riding a tricycle. All of these activities help develop gross motor skills and eye-hand/foot coordination. It’s important for a preschooler to be engaged in a variety of activities to encourage a wide range of muscle movements and skills.
Adult-led activity – which means that you (parents) can get involved. Children love to see their parents play. By doing so it shows that being active is part of the normal routine for your family. Running, playing, and practicing basic skills, such as throwing, catching and kicking balls or using playground equipment at a park can be fun for the entire family.
Activities to try with your Preschooler:
• Play games such as “Follow the Leader” and later you can mix it up with jumping, hopping, and walking backwards.
• Kick a ball back and forth by setting up a goals for your child.
• Practice throwing a ball off.
• Play freeze tag.
• Practice balancing by pretending to be statues.
Helping Children to Learn New Skills:
Preschoolers develop their motor skills as they grow. Your preschooler might show their new skills which include hopping, jumping, catching a ball, skipping, and balancing on one foot which they have learnt in school. You can help your child practice these skills by playing with them and exercising together.
• While you are on a walk make your walk a hunt by giving your child something to find out, like a door, a dog or any square object.
• You can sing songs or recite rhymes while you walk.
• You can also mix walking with jumping, hopping, and walking backward.
Children who love to play and enjoy doing physical activities tend to stay active. As staying fit improves self-esteem, helps to maintain a healthy weight, and decreases the risk of serious illnesses.