Gross motor activities

For your special needs child

Gross Motor Activity

Gross motor activities builds your child’s upper body strength and also improves their balance.

Without reasonable gross motor skills children often struggle with fine motor skills as well, that are needed for formal education. While writing is a

fine motor skill, the gross muscles need to be strong to support the torso for this task.

Keep in mind that no one is good at everything, and we all have our own strengths and weaknesses. We need to learn to improve our weak areas to an acceptable level, and focus on developing our and enjoying our strengths and talents.

Gross motor activities create an opportunity for lots of fun and games.

Try some of these:

  • Bean bags
    These are great for throwing and catching, especially if children are in wheelchairs or struggle to run after balls. You can throw them to each other, into a laundry basket, that you can move further away, or to the left and right. Cut a hole into a cardboard box or throw the bean bags over a rope adjusting the height.

  • Yoga Balls
    You can purchase these at any sporting goods stores. Sitting on your knees with ball against your knees, children can sit on the ball, while you move the ball in different directions. This is good for balance and special orientation.

    Children can also lie over the ball on their tummies while you hold their ankles and play ‘wheelbarrow’.

  • Balancing
    Using tape, make a line on the floor. Children can walk on the line with a bean bag on their head.

    They can hold their arms out to the side; palms facing up with a bean bag resting on each hand and walk on the line.

    Let your child jump in a zig zag pattern, keeping both feet together, across the tape.

  • Animal games
    This gross motor activity is a lot of fun, especially if mom joins in.

    Get your child to imitate certain ways that animal’s walk they can;

    • Slither like a snake
    • Walk like a penguin with their knees together
    • Hop like a bunny
    • Jump like a kangaroo
    • Walk like a dog
    • Gallop like a horse

  • Running after Bubbles
    Chasing bubbles is a great way for children to practise their gross motor skills. Blow bubbles outside, on a windless day and let your child run and chase them, on jump on them as they settle on the ground.

    If your child is in a wheelchair, you can give them either a ping pong bat, or some rolled up news paper, and they can use this as a bat to swat at the bubbles.

  • Pillow Mountain
    Take many different pillows and make them into a ‘mountain’. Cover your mountain with a blanket that you can tape down with packaging tape on the corners. Children can then climb the mountain, crawl over it or roll down the sides from the top.

    Gross Motor Activities
  • Balls
    Hang a ball from the ceiling and encourage your child to jump up and grab it or hit it. Get a collection of balls that are different sizes and shapes, even some textured balls like ‘koosh’balls. Using either a box or a laundry basket, let your child throw these balls in, using different movements, from above the head, with one hand, over their shoulder etc

  • Songs and actions
    You can learn new songs and encourage children to do the actions to the songs with you.

  • Tyre Tube inners
    It is amazing how something so simple can be turned into great gross motor activities.

    These come in a variety of sizes and can be purchased from any tyre dealer. Children can jump on them, roll them around, jump in and out.

  • Obstacle course
    Make an obstacle course with items from around your house. Use dining room chairs, ottomans , pillows and small tables. You can drape sheets or blankets over over the items, and let your child crawl in and out, and over the various obstacles in the course.

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Fine Motor Activities/ Speech Activities/ Sensory Integration Activities

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