"Without adequate gross motor strength, coordination, and control, it becomes very difficult to master fine motor skills, such as buttoning a shirt, cutting with scissors, and taking off shoes"
~ Angela Hanscom (Balanced and Barefoot, 2016)
Gross motor abilities are crucial for our children. From birth it is ideal to give them freedom of movement such as putting them on a flat surface so they can move their legs, arms and head to take in their surroundings. Also no need for restricting devices, such as swings or bumbos or jumpers; babies will be happy to be on the floor on their back or in your arms.
As they grow and start moving, there are popular items such as the Pikler triangle or the Woble Board; however these 2 often do not physically fit in homes nor in household budget! So if you are like me and cannot (or do not want) to buy a Pikler triangle or Wobble board, what can you do to encourage gross motor movement?
I'm going to start with the center image: nature. By Maria Montessori, nature is the original prepared environment. It has everything a child needs to develop his gross motor abilities: natural slopes, rocks to climb and throw, uneven terrain...
But what else can you use?
• Laundry basket:
with books it becomes a push walker for a pre walker (original idea by Jasmine @3mm.montessori), as they grow the children can carry their own basket with laundry to and from the washing machine and they can place the clothes into the washing machine as well. This is where practical life meets gross motor!
• Stairs or stepstool:
this is the original pikler triangle. Just "spot" them while they do it so you can catch them if they fall.
it involves moving dirt, moving water, digging holes. And is a great learning and sensory experiment! It can be anything from a large garden to just a little container.
• Box, bag or bucket:
with toys, groceries or water in it.
this is great for crawling children and also older kids who will have to crawl through as it strengthens their wrists. If you don't have a tunnel just use pillows on chairs or a towel on a chair and that's the perfect tunnel for a child! • Pillows and sofa: pillows for carrying, making tunnels, obstacle courses or walking on. Sofa for climbing! Stairs don't have the same top as a pikler triangle but sofas do! • Balance bike: this is the one thing I recommend buying. Replace the tricycle or the bike with training wheels by a balance bike. • Balls: ideally you want an assortment of materials, textures and sizes. They will love running after the balls, throwing them and carrying them. • Playground: this one has it all and most are free
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