Summer is the time to have fun while learning! Here are three more healthy play activities to build a child’s coordination and body control, as well as enhance gross- and fine-motor skills. Walking the line You’ll need a jump rope or a long piece of clothesline. This activity is best done barefoot, and can be for one or more players. Stretch out and lay the jump rope or clothesline on a grassy, flat area of yard or a park. Then brainstorm the different ways your child could travel along the line, such as:
walking on the rope.
walking backwards along one side of the rope.
hopping or jumping from side to side, not touching the rope.
walking with one foot on each side, moving without touching the rope.
any other creative way that he might want to navigate the “line.”
Plastic bottle targets This game can be for one or more players. You’ll need six same-size plastic bottles, half-filled with water, and a marker and a tennis ball.
Mark a big number in the middle of each bottle from 1-6.
Line the bottles on the grass in your yard or in a park.
Have your child stand about three feet back, and call out the number of the bottle she’d like to “target.” She has three tries to hit that number.
Keep playing until all the “targets” have been knocked over.
As she gets really good at the three-foot distance, increase the difficulty by stepping back twelve inches to lengthen the distance of the throw.
Water painting You’ll need pails and small, clean paintbrushes. This activity can be for one or more children.
Help your child fill the bucket or pail with water.
Take the pail with water and paintbrush outside.
Dip the clean paintbrush into the water and let him “paint” the side of the house, garage, or shed with up-and-down and side-to-side strokes. See how much can be done before the first strokes dry.
This activity was a personal favorite of my children when they were little! It kept them productively busy on sunny days while toning muscles needed for coloring and writing.
Connie McCarthy is passionate about her work as a teacher of young children. She has devoted her entire career to making sure that her students do well at school, right from the start. Connie has an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education, and a Master’s Degree in Special Education. She has been teaching first grade in East Providence, R.I. for 23 years, where she received the distinction of “Highly Qualified Teacher” by the Rhode Island State Board of Regents. Connie also taught nursery school for four years, and published numerous articles on early education in East Bay Newspapers in Bristol, R.I. She’s also been published in PTO Today Magazine. She lives with her husband, Brian, and has a daughter and a son, both young adults. Connie enjoys reading, writing about elementary education, and taking long walks with friends. During summer vacations, she likes to travel with her husband. She also loves reading readers’ comments on her weekly blog posts.