Summertime is here! That means time for lots of outdoor play and plenty of opportunities for your child to develop their gross motor abilities. So, what in the world are gross motor skills anyway? These are the activities that require the use of large muscle groups or whole-body movement in order to complete. Think jumping, running, walking on a balance beam, or skills such as riding a bike, kicking a soccer ball or catching a baseball. Why are these skills so important? Well, some reasons might be obvious. Almost every kiddo wants to keep up with their peers on the playground or participate in sports, but gross motor skills may also affect your child’s performance in school or other everyday tasks. Gross motor skills affect a child’s ability to maintain an upright posture to attend to class instruction, carry a heavy backpack, and even get dressed in the morning. 

If you want some ideas for activities to reinforce all the skills your child is learning and developing inside the Jones PT gym, the games listed below are a perfect way! All you need for these games are the ever-familiar summer staple item; pool noodles! (Insider tip: Dollar Tree and Lowe’s have great and affordable options!) If you need any ideas on how to modify any of these activities or to tailor the experience for your child and their goals, just ask your Jones Physical Therapist. We would love to help you get your kiddo moving! 

Balloon Bat  
Cut a pool noodle in half to create 2 bats, blow up the balloon, and you’re ready to bat the balloon back and forth! 
Over-Under Run  
Bend full noodles into rainbow shape, utilize wooden dowels or other material to stake each end of pool noodles into the ground. In between full noodles cut others in half and stake into the ground in the same manner. Children can run under full noodles and jump or step over half noodles.  

Target Toss  
Tape half or full noodles into a circle creating different size rings. Rings can be hung up from porch, on the house, or even placed on the ground to create targets through which you can toss a ball or bean bag.  

Motor Planning Jump  
Lay out noodles on ground or driveway in a row in various orientations. Your child will have to jump to each noodle while trying to always keep the noodles between their feet.  

Soccer Shoot 
You can set up a soccer goal by bending the pool noodle and staking it in the same way you would for the over underrun. Then you have a perfect target for your soccer ball kicks! You can even set up two noodle goals and have a backyard family scrimmage. 

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