Promoting Large Motor Skills to Keep a Well-Balanced Classroom
Children develop large motor skills naturally, yet there are a great amount of activities and tools that can increase their level of performance. First, the setting needs to have various balls and climbers which are not vertical, but are tubes which can be set horizontally so that children can climb on the floor and progress their muscles into different forms and shapes. Hula hoops and ribbons in the music and movement area are also wonderful to promote large muscle development in early childhood settings.
A large motor center should exist in every early childhood center because this is a vital part of growth and development in children. Children develop not only cognitively, but physically as well, therefore a strong body will result in a strong mind. A space of gross motor development allows children to experiment and exert extra energy within the classroom. Weather patterns may also cause for children not to go outside and indoor gyms are rarely available in small early childhood centers.
Flexible, sturdy and easily movable equipment is best for early childhood center of large motor development. Equipment such as a tunnel, which can be increased or decreased in size, is wonderful for gross motor development. Large foam blocks also allow children to build and climb and work on their gross motor abilities. Gross motor toys that allow children to stretch and push are wonderful tools for gross motor skills as well.
Stations can be sued to promote large motor skills as well in each particular section of the room. For example, in the art area, children use an easel and while standing up to paint use their large arm muscles to help them create their picture. In the block area, children may construct structures and use push/pull trucks and cars to allow them to gain mastery of their balance while parking the cars next to their buildings. In the music center, children may have a multitude of stations from the jumping in the hula hoop to the stretchy caterpillar with the ribbons. Stations are wonderful for children to involve large muscle skills in everyday activities.
Children’s picture books allow for children to see a variety of different ways that large motor skills can be developed. A book may show a character running, jumping or climbing. This image may allow for the child to gain confidence in trying the activity by him/herself. Books allow for children to see how their large motor skills are important in gaining independence in the world and mastery of different skills will allow them to be even more autonomous individuals.
Beaty, J.J. (2009). Preschool appropriate practices. Clifton Park, NY: Delmar Cengage Learning.