Outside Play Promotes Childhood Development
Playing together as a family is a key tool in promoting your child’s overall development. From active vacations to biking or hitting baseballs in the backyard, regular outside play improves various motor skills and promotes language development. Here are some fun activities you can do with your little ones to stimulate learning and development:
- Chalk Games - Writing letters, words or shapes on the pavement builds fine motor and handwriting skills. Start by working on letter recognition or drawing a picture on the driveway and having your child name it.
- Blowing Bubbles - Believe it or not, this simple, silly activity strengthens fine motor skills and hand/eye coordination. It also promotes oral motor skills and can be used as a motivator to encourage your child to make requests for bubbles.
- Play Ball - Catching and throwing a ball works on motor strength and visual motor skills. Focus on one action at a time until your child has successfully mastered it.
- Bike or Scooter Riding – Bike riding strengthens muscles and builds motor coordination. As your child becomes comfortable with riding, pretend you are riding to different places like the store. Tell your young one to pick up specific items at the pretend store.
- Going on Walks - Walking gives your child a chance to work on gross motor skills and also is a fun way to exercise together as a family. During your strolls talk about what you see along the way. You can practice describing the scenery by introducing concepts such as a “big rock” or “tall tree.”
- Make Your Own Outdoor Obstacle Course - Running, jumping and moving around benefits fine and gross motor skills. And following a sequence of activities will help your kid follow simple directions and build sequencing skills. Additionally, your little one will learn how to keep going in the face of obstacles. DIY obstacles can include simple items like pool noodles, jump ropes and sports cones.
Above all, pay attention to what works and use your child’s interest as a gauge. While he/she is just having some fun, you will know your child is learning.