Toys to Encourage Gross Motor Activities and Movement
Frequently parents ask for toys that will help motivate their child to move, participate in gross motor activities, and play. Toys play a huge role in motivating children by incorporating fun and play into harder or more challenging activities. A boring toy is similar to a less than desirable activity with no end-goal, humans, young and old, need to be motivated to participate and put forth our best effort! Toys that tend to be the most motivating for children include music, as most children love to dance and enjoy the beat while they play. Additionally, toys that light up, sparkle, or have surprises, such as ball poppers, and any toys with preferred characters from favorite movies or shows will help increase your child’s interest!
There are two simple and inexpensive “toys” that work for all ages and walks of life. When all else fails, bubbles and Mardi Gras beads are always a hit!
1. Bubbles – bubbles can be used for simple, visual entertainment and calming. They can also be used to teach a child to point and pop the bubble, as well as using feet only and working on single leg balance or weight shifting. Bubbles can be stomped on, chased, run through, crawled to, walked to, jumped over, jumped on, etc. The list of ideas is endless! Popping bubbles with feet can help promote core strengthening.
2. Mardi Gras beads – these sparkly, eye-catching beads are a favorite from infancy through later childhood. Infants love to watch the colors and reach for the beads, toddlers love to walk or crawl to reach the beads, children love to jump over or to the beads, and even older children enjoy earning the beads as rewards for participation in activities. Both boys and girls love the sparkle and noise and enjoy the imaginative play with them! (Please, as with any toy, be careful and monitor children with these as they can be a choking hazard for small children and can be dangerous when worn around the neck!!)