Healthy Living, Kids, Parenting

Outdoor Activities That Help Sprout Motor Skills

Warmer weather from spring means that more kids can head outdoors for much-needed decompressing! The winter weather and early spring rain has kept many school-age kids indoors and connected to devices and screens. Although regular physical fitness classes and ‘brain breaks’ at school provide outlets for kids to move, nothing beats the great outdoors!

Get kids out in nature and moving for much-needed physical fitness and engage them in activities that help strengthen motor skills. Parks, playgrounds and the backyard are perfect destinations for sports and games that increase motion for kids who have been sitting stagnant for months.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that children should have at least 60 minutes of daily physical activity. While PE and recess help kids meet this requirement, not all kids receive the recommended activity level each day. Warmer temperatures encourage kids (and parents) to get out of the house, off the couch and move a little more.

But those outdoor activities also help kids strengthen their growing bodies and fine-tune motor skills. Play time often equates to fun exercise for kids.

Get outdoors to explore the many activities that help kids meet their daily activity goals and boost motor skills.

The Playground

Local parks and playgrounds provide bountiful resources for exercise and motor skill strengthening. Crawling through tunnels helps strengthen the core, climbing on equipment aids gross motor skills and swinging helps strengthen hand muscles and can help with balance. Even running around the equipment is a great gross motor activity!

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Hopscotch

That fun game that almost every kid plays at the park is filled with gross and fine motor skills! Pinching the chalk and drawing the board works fine motor skills. Hopping and jumping are ideal gross motor skills, and hopping also helps kids practice balance and coordination.

Jumping Rope

One of the best cardio exercises, jumping rope also helps kids with coordination. But jumping rope also is incredibly fun as well as a great exercise. Today’s Parent recommends a jump rope game for toddlers and preschoolers that doesn’t make younger kids skip a turning rope. The game “Snake in the Grass” requires two people to hold the rope and wiggle it (like a snake) on the ground. Kids have to jump over the jump rope snake, and if the rope touches their foot it’s their turn to hold and shake the snake.  

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Gardening

Working out in the garden helps kids focus on fine motor development. Digging with shovels and grasping tiny seeds all work muscles in the hands. Working in the soil also introduces kids to new textures, like the softness of tiny green leaves and the moist grainy grittiness of the soil itself. Lifting watering cans also helps work arm muscles. And, of course, they will likely grasp up some slimy worms or bugs as they work.

Sidewalk Chalk!

Get artistic and break out the sidewalk chalk. Have kids create their own art on your driveway, sidewalk or porch. Grasping the chalk helps work fine motor skills. And, of course, drawing boosts their creativity. Just make sure you don’t let kids chalk in public parks, some cities don’t allow any type of drawing on city property…even washable chalk!

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Fun activities outdoors help kids work on gross and fine motor skills. Local parks, playgrounds and even the family’s backyard are filled with opportunities to boost physical fitness and improve motor skills. Get kids out into the great outdoors and get them moving for good health and an hour-long dose of recommended (but fun) physical fitness!

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