We sometimes here people complain that their kids have too much energy. Well, they are kids, and they should be energetic and always ready to run jump and climb. Children learn their motor skills through movement, and if you have a child who is eager to jump and climb, that means that they want to explore the world around them through movement. They crave movement and using their muscles. They want to test surfaces and furniture by hanging off them. This is all quite normal, and it represents a health stage in your child’s growth.
If your child loves jumping and climbing, you can help their development by providing them with appropriate sensory activities. Sensory activities are any activities for children that engage any of their 5 primary senses (smell, touch, sight, taste, hearing) or other senses, such as :
Proprioception – basically feeling their bones and joints and knowing where everything is and how it is moving
Vestibular Processing – a sense from the inner ear that tells you where you are in relation to gravity i.e. are you standing, sitting, upside down or lying on the floor.
Sensory activities for jumpers and climber, then, would focus on proprioception and vestibular processing, and we’ve got some ideas for you to try out.
1. Get them a toy trampoline
Toddlers of all ages love playing on trampolines, and it will especially make a great toy for children who love jumping. They will really feel a rush as they bounce around and do all kinds of tricks and somersaults.
2. Take your kids to a play park
It seems almost too obvious to out on the list, but don’t underestimate how good for their development letting them get out on the swings or climbing frames can be.
3. Make and indoor obstacle course
This one if a firm favorite in my household. To start, set some blankets down on the floor to work as a sort of crash mat. Then, bring in the big and soft objects you have, like bean bags, cushions, pillows, laundry baskets or anything like that (make sure its safe) and make a DIY obstacle course. See if you can make tunnels, walkways and walls for them to get through or climb over. You can even hang up blankets on strings or hat stands if you like. Just be extra careful when you set up so that there is no way that these things will fall on your child and hurt them.
4. Balancing beams
This is another great and simple sensory activity to set up, and can be done indoors or outdoors. All you need a wooden plank that is thick enough to support your child’s weight. Make sure to check for splinters, nails and jagged edges before though. For younger ones, you can just lay it on the ground and have them practice walking over it, but for older ones try propping it up on something sturdy, like some small stools. This is a simple but really fun balancing activity.
5. Jumping games
As long as you make sure they are safe, any kind of jumping game will be brilliant for your young one. One of our favorites is to get our kid on the sofa, and then lay out a bunch of flash cards on the floor. Then, I call a card, and our child has to jump on it. You can do this with cards, colors, words, just about anything that you can think of. Just make sure that they are not jumping off anything too high, and it might be a good idea to put down some blankets or pillows as crash mats.