4 year old
The following are several different activities that you could do at home, both inside and outside, for your 4-5 year old kiddo.
« Walking backwards – practice walking backwards between rooms, or make it into a game such as doing a puzzle or between turns of a board game. This helps improve balance and coordination.
« Jumping jacks – jumping jacks involve strength and coordination, which means this can be a hard task to learn. Sometimes having the kiddo do them in front of a mirror, or doing them with you while facing you helps. You can also break down the activity by doing arms only, then legs only, then putting them together at a slower pace.
« Sit ups – start by having them lay on the floor with knees bent, start with arms in front of them, reaching up towards their knees or giving you high-fives. As this gets easier, have them cross their arms over their chest. Make sure that they are keeping their body straight rather than rotating.
« Push-ups – you can start with push-ups with the kiddo on their knees rather than their feet, until it gets easier. This can be done during TV commercials, between turns on a game, etc.
« Skipping and Galloping – this can be done inside if there is enough room, or outside. You can have the kiddo practice this while going from room to room, or playing a game. If skipping is too hard, break down the task by having them practice slowly with a “step-hop, step-hop”.
« Bike riding – at the age of 4, a kiddo should start to be able to ride a 2-wheeled bike with training wheels. Practicing this task allows the kiddo to build strength, endurance, coordination, and balance. Start in a straight line until they get the hang of it, then add in turns. Around age 5, the kiddo should transition to riding a bike without training wheels.
« Riding a scooter – if available, have the kiddo practice a 3-wheeled scooter whether it be in the driveway, neighborhood, or park. Once they get confident with being able to ride a scooter without falling off, work on coasting or gliding by having them do a big push and then try to keep their foot off of the ground for as long as they can. Eventually, they should be able to progress to a 2-wheeled scooter.
« Ball skills – practicing catching, throwing, and kicking helps build strength, coordination, and balance. At this age, work on throwing overhand and underhand while hitting a target from 12 feet away, catching a small ball with hands only from at least 5 feet away, bouncing and catching a ball, kicking a ball 12 feet in the air (ex: kickball), and drop kicking a ball with direction (towards a target).
« Swing – at the age of 4 ½ years old, kiddos should be able to swing by pumping their own legs. To help kiddos learn to pump their legs, stand in front of them with your hands held out as a target, telling your kiddo to “kick my hands with both feet at the same time”. Follow that by asking them to bend their legs backward. This will help improve their coordination.
« Jump rope – jumping rope is a great activity that can be fun while challenging their strength, timing, and coordination. A child first learns to jump rump over a rope that is turned by someone else. If you do not have a second person to turn the rope, try tying the other end on a nearby surface; make sure it is not too low or too high. As this gets easier, try transitioning to self-turned jumping rope, which requires more attention, timing, and coordination. A child should be able to do this around age 5.
If you are unsure of what your child should do and when, complete a free screening of your child at http://checklist.abcpedatrictherapy.com.
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