Strength

  • Racing into stores to encourage running
  • Do different animal walks in the house including crab walking, inchworm walking, bear walking, bunny hopping, gallop like a horse, or crawl like a fox.
  • Walk on heels or toes
  • Run or walk up hills at the playground or at home.
  • Encourage reaching up on tip toes for objects
  • Scooter races
  • Ride a bicycle
  • Go for family walks
  • Wheelbarrow walking
  • Games like tag, skip it, hopscotch, Wii games, hide and go seek, hot lava, or follow the leader.
  • Include squatting while cleaning up toys
  • Jump or hop to different places in the home
  • Jump off the last step at home
  • Go to the playground
  • Yoga exercises together

Balance

**IMPORTANT: If you are trying this for the first time you may need to stand near your child to make sure they don’t fall. You can also have your child hold onto/stand near railings, trees, tables, or chairs for support.

  • Kicking- balls, bubbles, soft blocks, cones. You can start by having your child stand in place with a ball in front of their foot and ask them to kick the ball. Some kids need 1-2 hand support to keep balance. You can increase difficulty by adding a short, slow roll to your child. A further challenge would be to roll the ball faster or roll the ball to the side so your child needs to take steps to the side.
  • Stand on one leg- This can be as simple as lifting one foot at a time and counting up to 30 seconds. To increase your child’s interest, you can have your child squish a ball after counting to a certain number, draw letters or numbers with their foot, or see how many cones/rings your child can hold with their foot. To increase difficulty, you can have your child close his/her eyes, stand on a pillow/foam/uneven surface, or stand on an incline.
  • Stand on softer/uneven surfaces- With nice weather you can go for a walk with your child outside on various surfaces such as grass, woodchips, or rocks. If you are unable to go outside, you can also use pillows, foam, blankets, or couches. You can make this more challenging by removing shoes so your child has to use more ankle movements.
  • Reaching- Your child can stand with his/her feet shoulder width apart, touching each other, with one foot directly in front of the other, or with one foot on a stool in front. Each position makes the task unique. Play toys or game pieces at varying levels in front, behind, or to the side of your child. You can even have a table on the opposite side to place the object on after reaching for it.
  • Egg/toy hunt- Place various toys and other objects on the floor of the room your child plays in. Hide objects in sight of your child at various heights. As your child walks around, he/she will need to step over or around the objects which works on balance and safety in various environments.
  • Red light, green light game- Clear an area for your child to walk. Treat each light as different walking speeds. Initially, change walking speeds slowly, in order, with equal time between.
  • Dance- This can include anything from the hokey pokey to jumping around to choreographed routines. The goal is for your child to adjust his/her movements to the tempo/speed of the music.
  • Walk backward- Encourage your child to keep his/her posture tall. Start by walking on an even surface at a slow pace. Progress by having your child increase speed or pull a heavy object backward. You can also increase the challenge by walking on an uneven surface or up/down a hill.
  • Walk with one foot in front of the other- This can be done on a line/crack in the pavement, balance beam, or curb. Initially, have your child walk forward, but you can increase the challenge by having him/her walk backward or to the side with pauses in between foot placement.
  • Riding a scooter or trike/bike- If on a standing scooter, have your child propel with either foot. Be sure to stand close to your child because falls can occur quickly with this activity.

Coordination

  • Twister- You can play the traditional way with colors, or you can add letters to the mat to work on spelling. The game can vary from positions with all 4 extremities touching a spot or positions where only 3 limbs touch a spot.
  • Jumping jacks- This is a great activity where your child has to figure out both upper body movements and lower body movements at the same time. Additionally, this activity crosses the middle of the body, which can be challenging for kids. If this is too complex you can separate the upper body movements from the lower body movements and demonstrate the movement for your child.
  • Animal movements- This can include bear walking (on hands and feet while facing the ground), crab walking, the inchworm, frog jumping, or elephant walking.
  • Catching- You can complete this activity in sitting or standing, depending on your child’s abilities. It is easiest to start close to your child, throwing directly at their chest with a larger ball. As your child improves, you can move further away, use a smaller ball, and throw to the side. It is best to only change one of these variables at a time to allow your child the time to adjust.
  • Direct practice of skills- Dribble balls, gallop, hop (1 foot), jump (2 feet), skip
  • Stairs- At younger ages, stairs may be too big where 2 feet are needed on each step. Your child should slowly be encouraged not to use a hand or railing in order to climb stairs. Later on, your child should start to place one foot per step. Be sure to practice going up and down stairs.
  • Sports- dance, karate, yoga, baseball/softball, basketball. This is the most challenging activity because it often includes a variety of movements. To begin, each task of the sport should be broken down into separate components to practice. With increased practice and improvements, the components should be done together.
  • Scooters or trikes/bikes- The skill of propelling should first be practice moving in a straight line. Progress by working on turns and adding obstacles.