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Gross motor activities for kids are incredibly important in developing their gross motor skills. As school wraps up, you may find yourself with kiddos with tremendous energy to burn this summer! These seven gross motor activities for autistic children include activities that improve social skills while improving gross motor development. These skills are good for kids with autism but can easily be adapted to be fun for their siblings or peers!

1. Jump on a Trampoline

Around here, the trampoline is a highly preferred activity for many of our kids with autism. Bouncing offers excellent sensory input that can help alleviate sensory overload. If well supervised, jumping on a bed can also provide satisfaction!

2. Play Ball

Sometimes, simple activities that other kids can master easily might be very challenging for kids with autism. Catching the ball may not be realistic as a beginning step, but you can work your way up that over time. Begin by rolling a ball back and forth with the kiddo. This simple task develops important eye-tracking skills and can encourage motor planning as the child follows the ball’s movement. Other activities include:

  • Kicking the ball
  • Learning to dribble
  • Bouncing on a ball
  • Tossing a ball into a net or target

3. Balancing

Balancing can also be very challenging for kids on the autism spectrum, and many gross motor tasks require a sense of balance. Test to see if the kiddo can stand motionless with her eyes closed without losing balance to gauge how much work is necessary to develop balancing skills. You can use painter’s tape on the floor or a practice balance beam for them to follow. Balancing see-saws or playing hopscotch can also be fun for kids practicing this skill.

4. Bicycles and Tricycles

Riding bikes can help develop kiddos with balance and leg muscles. Bikes and trikes can be adapted to kiddos to make riding them easier. Indy Area Ambucs can answer questions or help find bikes appropriate for kiddos. Who doesn’t love biking on a summer afternoon? Don’t forget to outfit kids with protective helmets and other equipment 🙂

5. Pretend Play

Participating in pretend play is a considerable challenge for kiddos with autism. In some of these activities, kids can benefit from moving around while developing their imaginations. Ideas for pretend play that uses motor skills include:

  • Fly like an airplane
  • Hop like a bunny
  • Play restaurant at snack time
  • Do a crab walk
  • Do a frog jump
  • Slither like a snake
  • Gallop or trot like a horse

6. Dance

 Parents and therapists can use dancing with music to encourage imitation, and it can be a great way to teach daily living skills. Dance ideas include:

  • Clean It Up
  • Freeze Dance
  • Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes
  • Wiggle the Sillies Out
  • Hokey Pokey

7. Obstacle Course

In addition to improving gross motor skills, obstacle courses can be a great way to encourage kiddos to follow directions!  The course does not have to be complex to be effective. In fact, parents and therapists can begin with a course consisting of one step and gradually introduce other steps to the activity. Simple ideas for an obstacle course include:

  • Crab walk
  • Frog jump
  • Ball toss
  • Jump rope
  • Limbo bar
  • Walk a line or paint tape design
  • Climb over objects
  • Beanbag toss
  • Crawling through a tunnel or a cardboard box
  • Roll along mats or underneath obstacles

We would love to share more information about Bierman with you. Reach out to us at 800-931-8113 or email start@biermanautism.com.

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