In lieu of sitting indoors watching TV and playing video games, take advantage of the finally perfect spring weather and get moving with active games and sports. In addition, outdoor play can help improve gross motor skills, eye-hand coordination, trunk strength, and balance.
Hopscotch: Challenge hopping and balancing skills by hopping into all the boxes. For beginners, draw a hopscotch board with smaller squares so that it is easier to hop into all the boxes and skip the square with the chalk in it. Gradually increase the size of the boxes as you child improves. Look for quality: smooth, continuous movements display the highest level of performance.
Javelin Throw: Have a friendly Olympic-style competition in your own backyard.
Using a heavy bean bag or a medicine ball, see who can throw the farthest distance. This activity is great for building upper body strength.
Bull’s Eye Bean Bag: Draw a bull’s eye on the back or side of the house with chalk. Use a bean bag to aim for the center. Score 10 points for hitting the center, 5 points for the middle circle, and 3 points for the outer circle. See who can earn the most points. Standing farther away from the target increases the eye-hand coordination challenge of hitting the bull’s eye. Begin with a larger bull’s eye to increase the likelihood of success and progressively move toward a smaller one. Increase the challenge by using weightier bean bags.
Chinese Jump Rope: This is a great group (3+ children) activity. Two people are “enders” and hold the band around their feet. Designate one person as the jumper and choose a jumping pattern. Commonly used patterns include landing with both feet inside the rope, both feet outside the rope, one foot inside and one foot outside, and both feet on top of the rope. With the successful completion of each pattern, the height of the rope should be raised slightly, ramping up the challenge each time. Chinese jump ropes are available online and in stores that sell sports equipment.