It is perfect weather to spend some time outside! Did you know that while you are outside, your child can be strengthening at the same time? And you don’t even need any fact toys or equipment! Here are some ideas to try next time you go out.
Jumping Over Cracks in Sidewalk
You can start practicing jumping around 18-14 months, but jumping is not usually mastered until closer to 30 months of age. The cracks in sidewalks helps give the child a visual cue, which helps with coordination and motor planning of jumping. Hold both hands, under armpits, or around the hips as necessary for support! Make sure you also take a turn to practice jumping, so your child knows what it will look like as a mastered skill!
Stepping Over Roots in the Grass
Tree roots, fallen limbs, and water hoses make for perfect obstacles to work on single leg balance. Practice stepping over these items to help improve balance and stability in new walkers. If your child needs support at first, try holding under the armpits instead of hands to keep their posture upright.
Stepping Up and Down From a Curb
This is a great strengthening activity that can be progressed in many ways! Start by having them use a rail or hold a hand to step up, then progress to stepping with no hands for support. You may notice that they have a favorite leg to step up with. Challenge them further by encouraging them to use the opposite foot to step up.
Squatting to Collect Flowers (or weeds)
Squatting improves hip, glute and knee strength/control which is important for walking, running, jumping and many other skills! Hold an empty water or bubble bottle, and have your child pick up weeds and/or flowers to put in the bottle. Kids love to collect things, and did you know some flowers are edible?! You can find some dandelions and try them in your next salad!
Sit to Stand from the Curb or Front Stoop
Have your child sit in the middle of the curb, and have them stand up. If they use their hands to push off of the curb, give them something to hold onto with both hands (like a ball), so that their hands are unavailable.
So go spend some time outside! And if you live in a place where pollen is taking over, it helps to wear a mask to limit the amount of pollen that enters your nose!