We know that physical activity has become an important part of your daily routine with your little one, and that there are many gross motor skills that they’re developing and perfecting during this time. Right now, we’ll talk about one specific skill that involves a lot of fun for your child: jumping!
Previously, we talked about the essential abilities needed for jumping: muscle strength, balance, proprioception, muscle coordination, and motor planning. Here are some activities you can try out with your little one, to stimulate each of these essential abilities and help them become a jumping expert!
To strengthen your child’s leg muscles, play a little pretend game and simulate being frogs! Hopping like a frog might be a little difficult if your child is still young, but, even if they don’t get off the floor, this game will help them grow strong leg muscles. Not only will this strengthen their gross motor skills, but it will foster their cognitive thinking and imagination as well.
In fact, any game or activity that involves squatting can be beneficial. You can try making a line of toys and tell your little one to squat down to pick them up and bring them all to a box at the end of the line.
To work on their balance, your little one can have fun walking over different or unstable surfaces, for example, pillows or blankets. You can make a train game and invite other family members to join in. Hold hands and let your child guide the train and encourage them to go over the different surfaces.
Another great idea to do with other family members is to play statues. Play some music and dance around the room with your little one. Then, suddenly stop the music and freeze where you are, like statues, until the music starts again. The sudden stopping of movement will help your little one with their balance skills.
Also, standing on their tiptoes is great, not only for balance but for muscle strength too! You can do a tiptoe race with your little one or encourage them to paint on a cardstock paper that you pasted high on the wall.
To help your child improve their proprioception, play games that involve resistance, like pushing or pulling. You can have a pulling rope competition! Or you can invite your little one to push a light box along a trail.
Crawling is also great for working on proprioception. To make it more fun and challenging, create an obstacle course and tell your child that you need to go through it without standing up! Or crawl through a tunnel and see who can get to the other side faster.
If you have a large yoga ball, help your little one to roll over it on their belly and use their arms to hold themselves up. All of these activities will help your child to be more aware of their body position and movements.
Something as simple as having fun on the swings can help your little one work on their coordination and balance, as swinging requires shifting their weight and moving their legs back and forth.
For something a little more challenging, you can try this game. Play some music and show your little one how to march to the rhythm, while at the same time you clap! This might sound simple but if your child is still around two years old, they might find it a little hard to coordinate their movements. Don’t worry! With time they’ll improve their muscle coordination and, with this, their jumping skills.
Dancing is also great to stimulate motor planning. Try making a simple dance routine and see if your child can follow your steps. You can make it as challenging as your kid needs to keep them interested! A similar game is “Simon says”, where you can add any other type of movement or action! For example, “Simon says to run to the wall”.
Also, going through obstacle courses is great for practicing motor planning, especially if they involve different body movements and directions.
So, don’t wait any longer. Try these activities with your little one and watch them become a jumping master!
If you want more ideas, be sure to check out our catalog. We have lots of activities for you and your little one to try at home!
For more information visit:
• 7 Fun Indoor Games to Help Your Toddler Improve Balance
• Powerful Proprioceptive Activities that Calm, Focus, & Alert