Gross Motor Skill Activities for Special Needs Children
Most special needs children tend to have problems with their balance, body strength, and coordination. These problems are affected by gross motor skills, or skills that use the larger muscles of the body. While special needs children may be slow to develop their gross motor skills, they can still exercise and partake in daily activities that can increase their strength, balance, and coordination.
When special needs children work on their gross motor skills, their fine motor skills improve as well. Here are a few activities that any parent or caregiver can do with a special needs child to improve their development and overall well being.
Get Bouncing with Trampolines
What kid doesn’t love jumping on a trampoline? A trampoline is one perfect activity for special needs children because it helps them improve their balance and can even be therapeutic, especially for children with autism. Trampolines a therapeutic for children with autism because the bouncing motion feels good to the child and helps them become aware of their body positions. There is no need to buy a large trampoline; a small, personalized one will work perfectly. For safety reasons, a jump bar should be used. For larger trampolines, a safety net is advised.
Fitness Balls for Balance and Concentration
Fitness balls or yoga balls are easy to find in sporting good stores or superstore. Find a small-sized one or one made for children. Allow the child to sit, bounce, and even play on it, using his legs. No matter how the child sits or lays on the ball, he is challenged to balance, and he is even strengthening core muscles.
These balls can also be used to sit on when trying to get a child to focus. If the child associates the fitness ball free movement and playtime, try using two different color balls. One ball can be used for free play and movement, while the other one is strictly for sitting. Having a child sit on a ball during a certain activity, such as for a meal or a short activity, may help with their concentration.
Bowling and Bean Bag Throws
Another set of activities for special needs children includes aiming for targets. This practice can be done by setting up a bowling game or beanbag toss. For bowling, just set up empty bottles, such as water or soda bottles, and allow your child to practice rolling different sized balls to hit the pins.
Beanbags can be tossed through holes or used to knock over different objects. Both activities for special needs children work on aim and accuracy, as well as perception and strength. A child will learn how much strength is too much when throwing a beanbag towards an object, as well as the importance of concentrating on the object for a more accurate throw.
Gross motor skill activities for special needs children can be practiced at any age. The earlier the better! The best part about these activities is that they are fun and allow for bonding time between children and parents. Special needs children can also work on their gross motor skills with other children too.
Photo by mikebaird