Activities to encourage gross motor skills (large movements)
Try and create obstacle courses e.g. crawl under/over duvets, pillows, behind chairs, or under the coffee table. Turn the game into an adventure story by collecting treasure en-route. Encourage the child to use their imagination, e.g. let them build their own course by planning which component comes next, and you can join in as well.
Use larger balls, or slow moving items such as balloons, to catch or hit. Firstly, balls could be rolled across the floor or table to one another. If catching is poor, roll a ball off the edge of a table and encourage the child to catch it. Play lots of target games, knocking items over such as plastic milk cartons (these can be empty, filled with water or with sand) or through narrowing goal posts. For catching games, encourage the child to catch items when holding a box or small basket. Look out for big ‘bats’ to use. There are a number of different types available that increase the chances of success for the children to hit the ball. Look out for ‘foam’ ones, or try the bats with Velcro so the child can be successful. When playing games with rackets you can use large ‘shuttlecocks’ which are easier to hit than small ones.
In the playground, garden or at the park
The playground is a great place for developing and consolidating co-ordination skills. Some children may not like to climb up onto apparatus and equipment because they have poor balance. Try not to push too hard on swings or roundabouts. Let the child be your guide. If you do too much too soon they will become very anxious and not want to use this type of equipment again. Let them feel success and they will be motivated to move on. Trampolines and bouncy castles are great to help promote balance and posture.
Movement to music, especially where the music stops and then re-starts, is helpful as it will help the child with listening skills and turn-taking.
Swimming, horse riding, archery and canoeing (Indian canoes) are family activities which can be incorporated into the child’s life. Martial arts and wall climbing can also be excellent sports to help with gross motor skills.