As you may know by now, kids learn by observing and then doing. So, because preschoolers have lots of energy and appetite for fun and activating games, here are some ideas on how to encourage your 4-year-old to develop their jumping skills while also getting a daily dose of exercise and playing alongside you:
• Imitate animals and make it a game that also encourages vocabulary acquisition and cognitive skills. You can use pictures of animals and model their movements. Also, help your child respond the next questions, or similar ones.
- How do frogs move? And do they do sounds? Can you jump like a frog?
- How do rabbits move? Can you jump like a rabbit?
- Can you jump like a giant?
- Can you jump forwards? And backwards?
• Play some upbeat music and dance to the beat. You can encourage your little one to jump in place while coordinating their arms to the rhythm of the song.
• When jumping with your child, model the following things:
- Prepare to take-off by bending the knees.
- Start the movement by swinging your arms back and then forwards to gain impulse.
- Extend your feet and legs when you take-off to push against the ground.
- Maintain balance when landing.
Engage in conversation afterwards, and together, discover which movements your child finds easy, funny, etc., and how they would describe what jumping is.