Fun Activities to Practice Fine & Gross Motor Skills!
After a long year of school, both in-person and on-line, your children deserve a break! It’s their time to run around, explore, and try new things. Join in on the fun by planning summer activities that are both fun and beneficial. In addition to keeping your child active, many of these games that you know and love from your own childhood are wonderful ways to strengthen fine and gross motor skills.
First, what do we mean by fine and gross motor skills? Fine motor skills involve the use of smaller muscles in the hands, wrists, and fingers that we use when completing everyday activities like writing, picking up objects, and building Duplo towers! While gross motor skills involve larger muscle groups such as our arms and legs that we use when running, skipping, or catching a ball.
Here are a few of our favourite activities that will keep your family moving and developing all summer long.
Gross Motor Skills
1) Simon Says: a fun and easy way to help your child to improve body awareness and coordination.
2) Playing catch: activities don’t need to be complicated! Throwing and catching a ball is a simple and effective way to work on gross motor skills. For those little ones still mastering catching, balloons, or deflated beach balls move slower and are more forgiving when catches are missed.
3) Water balloon target practice: great for hot days! Incorporate throwing and hand-eye coordination by setting up hula hoops or rope on the ground and have everyone try to hit the targets.
4) Obstacle Courses: incorporate several skill building activities into one by building a backyard or living room obstacle course. Create as few or as many stations as you like. You can use pillows or cushions to make challenging stepping stones or lay down a bit of tape to make an imaginary tight rope. Get creative and use whatever toys and materials you have lying around the house. For an extra challenge, add in a fine motor station using any of our suggestions below!
Fine Motor Skills
1) Washable spray paint: fill some empty spray bottles with watered down washable paints and set up an art station in the backyard. Let them unleash their inner artists while they build strength in their fingers and hands!
2) Family games night: on rainy days, hopefully far and few between, pull out some old favourites like Kerplunk, Jenga, and Connect 4. These are all great and fun options for strengthening grasping skills, specifically.
3) Go fishing: fill containers with water and your “fish” which can be anything from marbles to Lego pieces. Have your kids “fish” them out and collect them using tong or ladle fishing rods.
4) Sunshine cutting craft: start by tracing a small inner circle on a round yellow piece of construction paper. Let your kids cut inward towards the center of their circle and see how many rays of sunshine they can make on their suns! The smaller the inner circle the more challenging it will be.