The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that children stay physically active for a minimum of one hour daily. With the pandemic, children are spending more time indoors, and keeping them physically active can be challenging.
Kids today are digitally native, and although young kids are generally energetic, it can be challenging to get them away from their tablets and other digital devices. However, as a parent, you already know how important physical development is for children.
Fortunately, even though kids are spending a lot of time indoors, you can still encourage physical activity with toys and other fun activities around the home.
Toys to develop fine motor skills
Fine motor skills refer to the ability to coordinate small body muscles like in the fingers and hands. Hand-eye coordination is also an essential fine motor skill that helps kids do simple daily activities. You can start developing your child’s fine motor skills at a young age.
For example, have you ever put one finger in a baby’s hand, and they form a grip? That’s what fine motor skills are-it’s the basic grab, squeeze, fold and turn using their fingers and hands that refine these skills.
Toys that help your child build their fine motor skills include building blocks or constructive sets, sorting toys, crafting sets, messy paints, play dough, busy boards, interactive books and much more.
Toys to develop gross motor skills
Like fine motor skills, your child needs gross motor skills to help them perform activities like standing, walking, running, sitting and much more without any trouble. Practicing these skills daily helps your child’s muscles grow stronger and have better control of their bodies.
To help develop their gross motor skills, you will need toys like balls for your kids to kick or throw. Ensure that the ball is big enough for them to kick around and throw but small enough to present a challenge in how they move.
Other toys that can help are gardening materials, jump ropes, bicycles, skaters, trampolines and games like Twister. It helps if you have a home with a yard because you can do most of these activities outdoors, including dancing and fun home workouts like jumping jacks.
Life for young and older kids has dramatically changed due to the pandemic. Encouraging physical activity indoors or outdoors can help kids blow off some steam and express themselves in a safe environment. It also allows you and your child to bond more, which helps them feel safe and loved amidst all that is happening around them.
Be intentional about doing these physical activities with them and playing with their toys, especially if you have toddlers. This is because toddlers and younger kids learn by watching what you do, and they enjoy it more when you do stuff together. Kids need to see their physical health as something fun, so they are more willing to get off the screens.
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