One significant area of growth to watch from babyhood through preschool years is a child’s gross motor skills development.
Gross motor skills are the large muscle movements of the body – arms, legs, and core areas.
My kids are always on the go, so I know they get enough movement, but I keep an eye on how coordinated they are in gross motor skills: climbing, jumping, catching, throwing are four main areas to check out.
When Little Tikes sent us the Big Dog Truck – the latest in ride on toys – I knew I could use this toy around the house to allow my boys to utilize their gross motor skills indooors. With the New England weather getting chilly, I need some more indoor active play ideas!
Ways to use ride on toys to improve gross motor skills:
1. CLIMBING. Children climb on and off the ride on toys – watch how easily they are able to swing a leg over the top. Do they struggle to raise their leg up and over to dismount?
Help them practice climbing skills by making up a game where they have to travel to several locations and climb on and off the toy to retrieve items. The Little Tikes Big Dog Truck comes with three “rocks” that the truck has to “gobble” with its mouth. Sometimes I stash the rocks around the house and have the boys ride around to find them. The search-and-find game gives them have a reason to get on and off the toy.
2. WALKING. Instead of riding the toy, have them give their stuffed animals a ride and push the ride on around a track. Use painter’s tape on the floor to mark out a large and winding track for them to follow. The Big Dog ride on actually functions as a ride on, walker, and dump truck, so you can get many activities out of the one toy!
3. BALANCING. Improve their core and balance by asking them to ride while carrying another toy like a large stuffed animal (nothing heavy, but something that makes them ride with one hand). This will force their bodies to use their core to balance while riding, steering, and holding the other toy. Kids love to give their stuffed animals rides, or perhaps tote a cloth bag of play food “home from the store.”
4. BALL-PLAY. Playing with accessories like the fake rocks that come with the Big Dog also helps our boys develop gross motor skills. Sometimes they roll or toss the balls back and forth or to me before depositing into the dump truck’s storage bin. They love pulling the lever on the side to release the rocks out the back. The Big Dog also “picks up” the toys with a spinning wheel when they drive over the rocks (best on a carpeted surface so the rocks don’t roll away!).
My favorite picture – my boys having a “meet up” on their ride on toys! Big Dog meets Little Horse!
The boys love that their truck has a cool dog face, and so many ways to play with the handle (it lights up and makes noise!), rocks, and dumper, as well as being just an exciting ride on toy! They don’t know how this is helping them develop, but I can sit back and smile, knowing they are having fun, learning, and growing at the same time!
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This post was brought to you by Little Tikes and I received a promotional item in exchange. All opinions are my own.