From walking and running to climbing and jumping, gross motor skills are important for children with autism to practice. They also lay the foundation for fine motor skills, like printing, drawing and cutting. Even when the weather is less-than-pleasant, you can create the perfect opportunity for your child to get active. Here are some fun and engaging ways to practice gross motor skills with your child.
- Kick a ball – find a soft, foam ball and create a ‘net’ in a doorway. See if your child can kick the ball to you, or through the door way. Be sure to cheer every time they score a goal, and make sure to give them a chance to be the ‘goalie.’
- Walk a tightrope – you can make your tightrope from something simple like a piece of yarn or a scarf that you place on the floor. The goal is for your child to walk along the ‘tightrope’ without ‘falling off.’ (For extra drama, you can tell your child to pretend that they’re walking above a pond or vat of jellybeans or anything fun or funny.)
- Move like a critter – put a bunch of different plastic animal toys in a box and have your child close their eyes and select one. Whichever toy they pull out is the way they have to walk/move. So, if they pull out a horse, they have to ‘gallop,’ but if they pull out a snake they have to ‘slither.’ To make this even more entertaining, you can encourage your child to make the sound that their animal makes as they act it out. You can make this more engaging if you participate too!
- Awesome obstacle course – you can do something as simple as making your ‘obstacles’ out of masking tape shapes on the floor (things like walking along a line, jumping from square to square, and hopping up and down in a circle), or as complicated as you can imagine. Put pillows on the floor and have your child jump from pillow to pillow! Have them crawl under a tunnel made from a table and blanket. The sky is the limit!
- Use Sing to Say – when you play with the app, you can encourage your child to act out a word or dance along with a song. See if your child can sing along with the Minimops!
Remember to have fun creating experiences for your child to practice their gross motor skills. Any game or activity that gets them up and gets them moving is great!