Have you ever noticed a clumsy child that usually falls while carrying a ball or little heavy objects or might have seen funny videos where young children slip or fall from a bicycle or maybe caught up doing something but fallen unintentionally and making everyone laugh at them? The reason this happens is because of the lack of gross motor skills and should not be taken lightly as if un-attended this may end up having a clumsy child. Before we proceed and explain how to build Gross Motor Skills at home during the Covid period it’s important to understand what are gross motor skills.
What are Gross Motor Skills?
The abilities that allow using of large muscle in the torso, arms and legs to complete whole-body movements. Most people have no problem and can use it easily and automatically however it’s more complex than we know as it requires coordination of muscles and neurological system. The small body part movement is called Fine Motor Movements or Fine Motor Skills and the large body part movement is Gross Motor Skills.
Gross Motor skills are related to various activities like
• Reaction Time
• Body Awareness
Researchers have found that kids born around the mid-2015’s until now have 22% more poor motor skills as compared to kids born in the late ’90s or 2000s. Environmental factors, change in genetics, stress, or quality of life could the reasons for poor motor skills however with advanced medical researches done in this field researchers have concluded the stages of gross motor development that are:
Stages of Gross Motor Skill Development in a Kid
Development Starts from the head and goes to toes.
Example: A kid learns to control his neck before he can control his arms or legs or even learn to walk.
Development Starts from Centres and goes to end-points (extremes)
Example: A kid learns to control upper arms before he learns fore-arms
Development Goes from General to Specific
Example: A kid learns to hold objects or big toys from both hands first then small toys from a single hand.
How to build Gross Motor Skills At Home?
Pre-schools and kindergarten courses were designed in a way that has basic to advanced motor skill classes that involve anything from running, climbing, leaping, hopping, or skipping.
However, due to Covid-19 all the kindergartens or pre-schools are closed until today but that should not stop learning the basics of life or enhancing the motor skills that goes for life.
Therefore as a parent or mentor, you can help your kid to learn basic gross motor skills in a fun way of staying at home with activities like
• Balloon Toss
Balloon toss is a fun game that can help your kid enhance gross motor skills. Before the start of the game give them the instruction to toss around 2 – 6 times and ask them to use different body parts like from head twice, from knees, from the ankle, and so on. Ask them to catch the balloon while you throw it in the room and if they do well don’t forget to reward them as for them it’ll be fun + rewarding but you are helping him learn the basics of gross motors.
You can make it fun by alternate catching or passing the balloon or mix it up with other family members.
• Traffic Lights
It’s a simple game that you can play at home by commanding them with three different light colors. The strategy of playing this game is as simple as traffic lights For eg:
Red Light: Stop
Green Light: Jump
Yellow Light: Crawl
If played with friends of the kid you can make competition among them and reward the winnings one but if alone with your child be their competitor and remember to lose as they are learning what you might have learned years ago so let them have the confidence that they have learned well.
This game will not only help to understand the gross motor skills and improve them but will also help to understand in the future how traffic lights work.
Also Read: How to develop logical reasoning in a child?
• Simon Says
Simon says is a game enjoyed worldwide and was originated in Europe. In this game, Simon is a monkey that does what it sees. It is played and enjoyed when there are people around and everyone has the chance to become Simon once. If you do not follow what Simon does you are out and the kid that can copy you till the last becomes a winner. Let you be the Simon for your kid and once again don’t forget to reward them. Few Example of how this game to be played
– “Simon says” – Touch your right eye with your left hand
– “Simon says” – Turn around two times from the right
– “Simon says” – Jump 5 times and sit-down
This is an easy to learn game that your kid would enjoy and learn at the same time.
There are various video games and physical games available in the market but we recommend rather than taking virtual help from the video games or the Outside games be their first person to help them learn and in the advanced stages you can take help of games.