As a parent of a soon-to-be kindergartener, you may be wondering what skills your child should practice in order to prepare for the academic challenges ahead of them. Kindergarten has become a more rigorous and demanding level of education in recent years, and children who are not adequately prepared may struggle. Luckily, there are many […]
Physical Therapy Toys: A Holiday Shopping List
When shopping for toys for your little one, it’s important to keep gross motor skill development in mind. Gross motor skills are those which require whole body movement and which involve the large, core-stabilizing muscles of the body to perform everyday functions, such as walking, running, and sitting upright. Gross motor skills also include hand-eye coordination skills such as ball skills (throwing, catching, kicking). According to Kid Sense Child Development, learning balance and coordination is important for injury prevention, self-regulation, and developing a foundation for future development of gross motor skills.
Here are some of the best physical therapy toys that will help your child develop their gross motor skills while having fun!
POGO STICK (Flybar My First Foam Pogo Stick) Buy it here!
Jumping is a gross motor skill that requires core strength, balance, and coordination. Your core muscles are what help you balance and a pogo stick really challenges your child to engage their core. A pogo stick also encourages children to develop strength in their legs, strength in their back muscles, and cardiovascular endurance all while having fun. You can even find a pogo stick that squeaks with every jump to help children count their jumps!
SPORTS-RELATED ACTIVITIES (Little Tikes 3-in-1 Sports Zone) Buy it here!
Triple the play! Dunk the basketball, kick a soccer goal, and roll strikes in the bowling game. All these activities require your child to practice their single limb balance, visual-motor skills, and coordination.
Adjust the basketball hoop as your child gets taller to encourage them to reach up high, overhead on their tiptoes to challenge their balance. Soccer helps develop balance and coordination. Bowling introduces shapes, colors, and improves visual-motor skills.
TRAMPOLINE (Little Tikes Trampoline) Buy it here!
Jumping is a gross motor skill that neurotypical children begin to perform around the age of 2 years. A trampoline is a great way to encourage the development of this gross motor skill with use of the upper extremities to begin. The trampoline will assist your child in developing improved motor coordination of the lower extremities, building strength, and promoting cardiovascular endurance.
BALANCE BIKE (Strider ‘Classic’ Bike) Buy it here!
Balance bikes are one of the best tools out there for helping your toddler develop their gross motor skills. Balance bikes also help develop core muscle strength and endurance. They are a great way to exercise, as well as build self-confidence and prepare for riding a tricycle or bicycle.
EXERCISE DICE (Kidnasium Exercise Dice) Buy it here!
Improve your child’s self confidence and promote physical fitness with some exercise dice. These dice will encourage your child to try new gross motor movements like crab walks, jumping jacks, toe touches, karate kicks, and giant steps. These gross motor movement skills will enhance your child’s total body strength, flexibility, balance, and coordination.
Now that you have some fun PT toys in hand – it’s time to get MOVING! Encourage your little one to get outdoors, try a new skill, and build that self confidence in their gross motor skill development.