Springtime Gross Motor Activities for Children
By Nikki Robinett, DPT
Kids Place Pediatric Physical Therapist
That perfect time of year for us Phoenicians is just about upon us. The daytime temperatures are perfect! Nighttime isn’t too cold. We can finally enjoy some fresh air without sitting in shade. Let’s use this time to encourage our children to be active and build their gross motor skills.
Gross motor activities work on a variety of skills like balance, coordination, strengthening and power training. They also allow children to better participate with their peers. Children will become more involved in activities on the playground at recess or when they play with friends.
Here are some ideas that are family friendly and work to develop your child’s gross motor skills:
- Citrus picking – encourage jumping to higher branches for more leg power
- Walk or bike in your neighborhood, the Phoenix canal, or any park/path – stop to play tag on the grass!
- Hike Papago Park, South Mountain or Pinnacle Peak Park
- Create obstacle courses at the park or in your backyard to encourage jumping, running, and balancing
- Rent kayaks or paddle boards at Tempe Town Lake to work on core strengthening, coordination, balance and shoulder strength
- Walk around the Desert Botanical Garden– this is also wheelchair friendly and there are several benches along the path to allow for breaks if your child’s endurance does not allow walking for long periods of time
- Check out the Phoenix Zoo or Wildlife World Zoo – try various animal walks to each exhibit you visit (crab, bear, flamingo, donkey kicks, penguin)
- Walk around and play at the McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park
- Downtown Phoenix ArtWalk; A family friendly event on the 1st Friday of the month – jump up and down off of the curbs to work on leg power or walk on the edge of the curb to improve balance
- Learn and explore at Arizona Science Center or the Children’s Museum of Phoenix; try and take the stairs for extra exercise
- Golf at Troon North Golf Club – a 9 hole course and on Sundays from 1:30-3 there is a $25 Junior Golf Academy for kids 4-17- this helps work on coordination and core strengthening
- Head to Crackerjax for a batting cage, driving range, mini golf course or other family friendly attractions- this will help work on coordination, core strengthening and arm strengthening
There are plenty of other local places to visit. We want to hear from you. Where are some places near you where your children can be outdoors and develop their gross motor skills? Please leave your comments below!