Look To the Western Sky

A blog about single life as a parent & the dreams of a writer by Margo L. Dill

Which Toys Can Help With Physical Development?

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photo above: Fun with friends. Image source

Living in a digital age puts a lot of pressure on parents to help their children develop safe and effective online skills. Coding is the new hot subject at many schools. Kids seem to know more about the world thanks to the explosion of easy-to-access information out there. But aren’t we forgetting something? All that time spent in front of a screen used to be the time we spent out in the backyard when we were kids. Will the children of today struggle with physical development?

There are plenty of great (better than when we were kids) toys out there that can be used to help your little one physically develop. Most children are naturally active; so if you have something they can ride or kick or throw, they’ll be keen to use it. In fact, many of these toys can help them develop mentally and emotionally as well. For example, a fast-moving ball is heading in a particular direction. Your child has to recognize that and predict where it will end up to reach it in time. In many activities, teamwork plays a big part here, too, helping to develop friendships and cooperation.

 

From the moment they can walk, you can provide a wealth of different toys to help your little one improve their balance. A good trike for a 3-year-old can help a child develop pedaling skills too. Steering needs to be practiced and can be learned by trial and error. What’s really great about kids moving on wheels is the role play that can go with it. As an example, children can become mailmen and bring you a parcel!

Once your children have mastered the art of pedaling and balancing, they might be ready for a proper bicycle. Cycling together is a fun way for the family to spend time together. It keeps you all fit and develops balance well, too. Best of all, it helps to tone every part of the legs!

Trampolines are excellent for developing strong core muscles and leg strength. Recognizing the relationship between effort and result is important here. Bouncing around is a lot of fun for children, and this activity burns a lot of calories too! Bouncing on a Pogo stick requires balance as well as strength and coordination to bounce. Of course, a space hopper might be an easier place to start!

Have you ever used a swingball set? This is tennis for a small place. It can be played with two people or practiced alone. Either way, it can be lots of fun and a great way to spend more time with the kids. Best of all, it hones the hand-eye coordination and builds strength in the arms. To build strength in both arms, a child can play on some monkey-bars or use a climbing frame in the garden. If you’re nervous about your child climbing, layout some play mats underneath.  Toys in the garden that help your child to increase their physical activity can be great for physical development too. You don’t need a lot of room, although you might need to supervise quite closely!

What do you get up to with your kids in the backyard?

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4 Comments

  1. I’ve been baby sitting my twenty-month old grand-baby this week, and have discovered I don’t have enough energy to do much in the backyard. I’m not as young as I used to be.

    • luvboxerdogs

      November 4, 2017 at 8:15 am

      I think it gets easier as the kids get older. 🙂 However, I wonder at the age of your grandson, actually just taking a little stroll around the back yard or throwing a ball for 5 minutes would satisfy some of this. Or let him kick a ball and then go chase it! Have fun with your grandson.

  2. Sorry about that, Pat. At my age, I don’t even try to pick up any of my great-grandkids; the best I can do is pull one of them into my lap. I guess I shouldn’t tell you it keeps getting harder.

    Margo, the column today is excellent. I think my kids were the last generation growing up outside. It was the best way ever. I could often count up to 25 or 30 kids in my back yard. We had a double lot, fenced. That gave them room for whiffle ball, kickball, a swing set, tag, soccer, whatever. We also had a tree with a rope on it. Sometimes it would have a tire or stuffed tow sack attached; sometimes it was just a rope to climb. When we had to have a tree taken out, it gave them a low-level place to play king-of-the-hill. They also loved to play hide and seek after dark. Does anyone remember Simon says, red rover, Mother may I, or kick the can? There was a good reason they played in our yard. We were in the middle of the block and the yard was fenced. The other parents knew I ran a tight ship, and I knew where my kids were.
    Two thumbs up on exercise.

    • luvboxerdogs

      November 4, 2017 at 8:22 am

      My childhood was similar. The neighborhood kids played together. We could go out after dinner and just had to be back before dark. It is harder these days. Kids are busy. Kids can’t just run around. But I think if we, as parents and grandparents, show that exercise and fresh air are important, then our kids will get it. This winter, I signed Katie up for both basketball and cheerleading and I’m going to ref some games. This will get us moving every week, even if the weather is terrible. I know a lot of places, like the YMCA, offer open gyms to little kids during the week. So it’s harder than just sending kids outside, but creative parenting can make it happen! Thanks for reading and commenting, Judy!

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