Physical literacy might be something you’ve never really thought about. We help teach our kids to read, to write, to (hopefully) use their manners, but we also teach them how to move. Things that now seem like second nature to us take time for growing children to master. But physical literacy is a term we just don’t hear or acknowledge that often. Well, it encompasses learning fundamental movement and sport skills that allow our kids to read their environment and make appropriate decisions. It helps them move confidently and with control in a whole bunch of different physical activity situations. Yup, it’s pretty important.
So, how do we teach our kids physical literacy? A lot of it will happen naturally, as your child is learning to walk, run, and jump. But it never hurts to take a little time to intentionally work on a few fundamental movement skills. Here are ten fun and easy ways to sneak a little physical literacy into your kid’s life.
1. Step on the crack.
On your walk to school or the park, develop balance by walking along cracks in the sidewalk as if they were a tightrope.
2. Catch a snack.
Instead of placing snacks on the table or directly into backpacks, throw them instead! Be careful with this one as it can get messy. I’d recommend oranges, apples, or boxes of raisins.
3. Hop to it.
In the morning, or before bed, hop or skip to the bathroom to brush their teeth. If they’re hopping on one foot, make sure to switch between both legs.
4. Sock toss.
Have your kids help while you put their laundry away. Toss a rolled up pair of socks their way and have them try to catch it first with their preferred hand. After that gets easy, try with their non-dominant hand.
5. Kick it.
On your way home from school or the park, kick a rock as if it were a soccer ball along the sidewalk. Try to use the same rock the whole time and not kick it too hard or too far.
6. Stair jump.
Only if your kids are old enough to do this safely! Have them try walking down the stairs backwards, or jump up and down the stairs using both feet. For little ones, move the jumping to the bed or couch and have fun knowing there’s something soft to fall on.
7. Be a flamingo.
When you’re waiting in line at the grocery store, keep the kids busy by challenging them to balance on one foot. Don’t forget to switch sides!
8. Laundry basketball.
Throw dirty clothes into the laundry bin by shooting them like a basketball. Challenge them to try from further away once it becomes easy.
9. Backwards teeth brushing.
Have your kids try to brush their teeth with their non-dominant hand. Just make sure to go back over them with their dominant hand after to make sure they get a proper cleaning.
10. Work on balance.
Get a little help from the kids while you’re putting away groceries. Have them balance canned goods on the palms of their hands.
Try picking one physical literacy activity a day and watch how fast your kids improve at balancing, throwing, catching, jumping, and kicking!