Between Easter and Spring, we're doing a lot of jumping and hopping these days! We're frogs, we're bunnies, we're dinosaurs and other various extinct animals. All great fun. Feeling inspired by my sons abilities to move non-stop and, of course, their adorableness, I created a series of movements for us to do based on HOPPING and JUMPING.
Hopping and jumping are great for gross motor skill development. Gross motors skills are important because children are little balls of energy moving, moving, moving so helping them develop a sense of balance and personal space is critical in safety. Beyond safety I've noticed when my child is comfortable with whatever physical activity he is doing, he is more secure and confident in his movements but also with his interactions with the people around him.
Here are a few ways we work on gross motor skills in our home:
- Lake and Land – I learned this one at the Montessori conference a few weeks ago. You can use tape or rope to make two parallel lines. One line is the LAKE and the other is the LAND. Ask you child to stand on LAKE and explain that only when you say LAND does he jump or hop to the other side. Explain that when he is standing on LAKE and you say LAKE, he must stay in place. This activity is fabulous for self regulation. We ended up creating different versions of this approach by naming objects that you find on land or in the water. So, boat, car, lion, seal, etc. A further extension would be to ask a question and answer it. If you are correct, the child jumps/hops to the other side. So, “2+2=5” = Stays, “2+2=4” = JUMPS/HOPS.
- Bubble Wrap – This one is so fun for kids. They love the sound, the feel and the satisfaction of hearing the pop.
- Hop/Jump the Line – We love Montessori's Walk the Line exercise. Walking the Line is great for body awareness AND for creating a more calm environment. Sounds a little crazy but when children learn where their bodies are in relation to other people and objects, there is a positive impact on the environment. So we march, we walk, we do figure eights and now we HOP! Draw with chalk outside or use tape inside to create the line. Then have your child hop/jump the line straight, go backwards, sideways, over objects, and back and forth.
Besides moving our bodies, other activities we did on the particular day to celebrate “hopping” was studying the Frog Life cycle with a great set of life cycle figurines and a one of our favorite books, From Tadpole to Frog.
Thanks for visiting!
Marnie (the “MBA Mama”)