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So you might be asking yourself, what are “gross motor skills” and why are they important?
Let me take a few minutes to explain.
What Is Gross Motor Skills?
Gross motor skills are the abilities required to control the large muscles of the body for walking, jumping, skipping, and more.
Why Are Gross Motor Skills Important?
They enable children to perform everyday functions like walking, running, sitting, playing and more.
They are needed for overall good health, to help with anxiety and stress and in children with special needs “movement breaks” are needed to help their brains reorganize to prepare them to do the work being asked of them.
So with the holidays approaching, it’s a great time to think about gifts that are not only enjoyable but provide a real benefit.
Here is a list of “10 Great Gift Ideas for Gross Motor Activities”
My son has just started liking the sport of tennis. A lightweight racquet like this Wilson Junior US Open Tennis Racquet, 23′ size is good for beginners 10 years and younger.
It is always important to get the racquet measured, so for a starter racquet this has a nice price tag.
Special Needs Benefits: Eye/hand development
For children who have limited mobility or strength, this foam racquet might be a nice option. Children in wheelchairs also have the ability to play tennis.
I don’t think you can go wrong when it comes to a basketball. I think all kids and parents like to play.
An indoor arcade shot basketball game is a great thing to add to your family room. You can keep your family busy over the cold winter months with this.
Special Needs Benefits: eye and hand development, strengthen upper arm, builds character and self-confidence. Children in wheelchairs can play
3) Play Tunnels
Kids of all ages love to play with tunnels. Whether you crawl through them or roll balls through, they are sure to entertain.
Special Needs Benefits: building strength, stress reliever, working all muscles sections
Kids love to jump, especially little ones. Here is a great option for little jumpers to “get their wiggles out”. It’s a great energy burner.
Special Needs Benefits: repetitive motion help to calm a child and helps align their sensory system. Helps with strength, coordination and balance
Here’s my little guy when he was little enjoying his trampoline:
5) Pogo Jumper
A great gift idea that both kids and adults can enjoy together. It’s a safe way for kids to burn off some energy. The bungee stretches to accommodate children of all heights and can support up to 250 pounds.
Special Needs Benefits: similar to the trampoline this helps with core strength, balance, and coordination
Who doesn’t love scooters? They use them in gym class, after-school activities and even team building events. You may have seen people using them to play Hungry Hippo.
Special Needs Benefits: strengthens upper body and gross motor skills, improves balance, posture, and, coordination, provides calming benefits for a sensory diet, strengthening your core muscles
How about a Hopscotch game that you can play indoors or outdoors?
Special Needs Benefits: hopscotch helps children with “heavy work” which help them calm down, keep focused and help to organize themselves. Pushing and pulling helps with the gross motor
Bicycle riding can be a great family activity. Everybody loves to ride a bike whether it’s in your driveway with friends or through the park with your family.
Special Needs Benefits: coordination, strength, there are many different adaptive bikes that children with special needs can use
Children love swings, they love the motion and to see how high they can go. Putting a rock wall and a tire swing together, it’s a wonderland of fun for children of any age.
Special Needs Benefits: sensory input from going back and forth from the swing, imaginary play, muscle strengthening
10) Hoppy Ball
Hours of fun can be had with this hoppy ball. You can have races or just jump freely.
Special Needs Benefits: hard work that is helping with sensory, calming, staying focused and working your gross muscles
So I hope this list will help you when doing your holiday shopping. I also have a list for fine motor gift ideas.