All parents want the best for their child. However, each one of our sons and daughters will face some form of adversity on their journey in life. No one is immune. Whether it is coming to terms with red hair or struggling with math, each child will need our guidance and encouragement along the way.
Unfortunately, a common hurdle children with Asperger’s struggle to overcome is developing fine and gross motor skills.
The Importance of Developing Fine and Gross Motor Skills
At first glance, it’s easy to ignore clumsiness, an uneven gait, sloppy handwriting, poor balance, and other awkward movements. After all, we are busy helping our sons and daughters live life to the fullest. Not surprisingly, children on the spectrum often struggle with motor skills which can result in mobility issues limiting personal growth and independence.
Having control of motor skills will enable children to explore the environments around them and develop cognitive skills. There are two basic types of motor skills our kids need to form:
- Gross Motor Skills. Gross motor skills are movements that require large muscles to move. This includes muscle groups used for running, jumping, and throwing.
- Fine Motor Skills. This area of motor skills focuses on smaller groups of muscles and movements. Hand and wrist movements are great examples of fine motor skills.
10 Spring Activities to Develop Motor Skills
Children who have poor motor skills can miss out on a variety of opportunities to bond with friends and family. It is important to include a variety of chances to develop motor skills in their weekly and daily routines to see progress. Experts recommend incorporating a minimum of 10 to 20 minutes at least 3 times a week.Thankfully, with a little planning and creative thinking we can tap into fun activities to promote motor skills in our sons and daughters.
Help build motor skills with the following Spring activities:
Hopscotch. Use fine motor skills to draw patterns onto the sidewalk and gross motor skills for throwing, hopping, and jumping. Adapt this game to a child’s ability by allowing him or her to jump on two legs, then one, or alternate between both.
Bean bag or ball games. Cornhole, two square, or just bouncing and catching balls are great gross motor activities. Have fun!
Blow some bubbles. Encourage children to chase, catch, or pop the bubbles. This timeless activity is great for developing hand-eye coordination and provides opportunities for running and jumping.
Hangout at the park. Nicer weather is the perfect reason to take a trip to the local playground. Swinging develops balance and coordinating body movements as kids pump back and forth. Climbing equipment, going up and down slides, or running between play areas are other ways to develop motor skills.
Design an obstacle course. Take advantage of your child’s inner ninja skills and develop the ultimate course for gross motor skills. If you have a child who is fearful, use tape or a piece of string on the ground to make balancing less intimidating and have your child walk the line.
Go fly a kite. Nothing says Spring like flying a kite on a windy day. Running with a kite and keeping it up at the highest heights requires gross motor skills and small movements within the hands. Channel your inner Mary Poppins and whip up a kite or two for a fun afternoon.
Build a shadow puppet theater. Let your kids clothespin a white or light colored sheet to a clothesline to create a screen. Squeezing open the pins allows kids to build finger strength and dexterity. As an added bonus, kids can act out stories from behind the screen which uses gross motor skills. Just make sure the sun or another light source is behind your actor to cast the best shadows.
Create sidewalk art. Sidewalks and driveways provide the perfect canvas for active imaginations. Draw with chalk or create masterpieces with sidewalk paint. Even providing kids water and a paint brush can allow them to get creative without a mess.
Build a sandcastle. Playing in the sand is a great way to foster a variety of motor skills. Manipulating and handling sand promotes dexterity in fingers, while pouring, digging, and carrying buckets builds strength.
Gardening. Take a cue from Mother Nature and grow something. You can plant a large garden or just try growing some herbs in a container. Tilling up the dirt, raking it with your fingers, and planting smalls seeds or plants is a great way to work a variety of motor skills. As an added bonus, you will get to eat your rewards later!
What Spring activities does your family enjoy?
P.S. This is another guest post from Amy Williams