Encompass Blog

Playground Activities to Build Healthy Bodies

June 12, 2019  |  Child Development, Play  |  By Abby Choudek, PT, DPT

Girl swinging on her belly on the swing

Summer is here and it’s time to keep the kids busy and having fun! Providing kids with the opportunity to move their bodies is as essential as giving them a healthy meal. With the weather warming up, it’s the perfect opportunity to get out and get moving.

The park is a great place to allow your kids to play, learn, and move their bodies. Parks provide equipment that will challenge your kid’s strength, coordination, and sensory system. For example, the stairs require them to use the strength of their legs, the swings provide sensory input for their balance and spatial orientation systems, and the climbing walls give them an opportunity to work on coordinating both sides of their body.

Here are some fun ways to incorporate some gross motor skills into your time at the park:

  1. Walking UP the slide: This helps to strengthen ankles and leg muscles. Help your child to place both hands on the side of the slide and hold on all the way up. This works best on a shorter slide so you can supervise all the way up!
  2. Walking on ledges like a balance beam: Work on balance even when there isn’t a balance beam at the park. Walk forward, sideways, and backwards to improve balance, coordination, and hip strength!
  3. Swinging on their tummy: This will increase tummy muscle use and make them feel like they’re flying!
  4. Hanging on the monkey bars and bringing knees up: This builds up tummy muscles too!
  5. Animal walks through tunnels and tubes – work on coordination and whole-body strength by having your child do a bear walk or crab crawl through the tunnel!
  6. Climbing walls or rope walls – this provides kids with the chance to coordinate their upper and lower bodies as well as left and right sides. Help them to sequence their movements first then let them explore and figure it out on their own!

Now go have some fun in the sun!

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