This Spring Obstacle Course post is brought to you by our guest writer and special needs consultant Dr. Melissa Liguori, Ed. D.
Hurray! It looks like Spring has finally sprung! The kids have been cooped up all winter long and now is a great time to get them outside for some exercise. In nice weather, playgrounds, parks, and hiking trails are perfect places to frequent for much needed physical activity. However, as the saying goes, the “April Showers” are just around the corner. What can we do to keep our kids active on those rainy days? I have the perfect idea….
Turn your basement, living room, actually any space into an indoor obstacle course! Children will love jumping over couch cushions, crawling through pop up tunnels and hopping on one foot through a path of cones. These activities supply endless hours of great gross motor fun that help strengthen and develop muscles. Gross motor skills are developed through activities and games that build the body’s large muscle groups, developing strength, control, balance, and coordination in the arms, legs, and torso through exercise and large-scale movements.
You can make the course as simple or as complicated as you like depending on your child’s ability. Some children will benefit from one or two stations while others may work up to a multi step course. Have children crawl, roll, jump, and tumble on their own or with a pal. Children may also enjoy videotaping their efforts and watching themselves complete their very own obstacle course.
Once your obstacle course is set up be sure to demonstrate each activity for your child. Allow children to complete the obstacle course over and over, while timing them which encourages them to beat their own record! Children will giggle in delight while engaging in much needed physical activity, using several large muscle groups and also building confidence as they improve their skills.
Don’t forget to check out Melissa and Doug’s “best-of” gross motor skills list that includes sporty outdoor games, active indoor games, and lots of great activities for building strength, control, balance, and hand-eye coordination.
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About Dr. Melissa Liguori, Ed. D:
After studying early childhood education at the American University in Washington, D.C., Dr. Liguori began her career as a classroom teacher in one of the nation’s top school districts, Montgomery County, Maryland. There she fostered an environment where play and learning were synonymous, and her reputation for thinking outside the box when it comes to toys began. Dr. Liguori completed her doctorate in Developmental and Learning Psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University, and worked at prestigious private schools in New York, New Jersey, and the surrounding suburbs before settling her family and practice in Westport, CT.