May 21 , 2021
Motor Planning Activity: Outdoor Obstacle Course
What is Motor Planning?
Motor planning is the way we design and carry out new motor actions. This means that motor planning is in most everything we do, from playing with a new toy to learning new skills in school. For children that have difficulty with sensory integration, they may have difficulty interpreting the world around them, reacting to that input with an efficient motor plan, and receiving accurate feedback from that plan. Children with motor planning difficulties may fall or stumble too frequently for their age, bump into things at home or school, become frustrated with tasks easily, and seem to not be able to coordinate their arms/legs. As motor planning is an essential part of everything we do, challenging your child’s motor planning through play can teach your child how to learn new motor plans while keeping it fun. This can lead to increased success with age-appropriate play, engagement in school, and interactions with peers.
Motor Planning Activity
As the weather is getting warmer, get outside and get creative with a chalk obstacle course! Drawing with chalk and performing whole body movements around the chalk can help your child learn new fine and gross motor skills that can be applied to play, school, and social interactions. Work with your child (ie. circles for stepping stones, balance beam, hopscotch board) and have your child maneuver in and around the patterns. Make it simple or more complex depending on your child’s needs. Making the obstacle course themed can also engage the child. Below are some ideas to spark your creativity:
● Firefighter: Draw squares for buildings, a ladder, and a fire at the top of the ladder. Have your child run around the buildings, bear climb (walk on hands and feet) up the “ladder” and have them stomp out the fire!
● Twist and turn: Draw swirls along the sidewalk and have your child spin a set number of times. Make sure they spin in both directions so they receive sensory input both ways. To prevent your child from becoming overly dizzy, create designated jumping spots in between spin swirls can decrease dizziness prior to continuing spinning.
● Balance beam: Draw a straight or curved line and have your child walk across it carefully. Don’t fall off!
● Sidewalk maze: Create a maze and have your child find their way through.
● Outdoor stations: Create stations for your child and a path connecting them. Some ideas for stations could include hula-hoop, jump rope, scooter, bike, throwing bean bags towards a target, and dancing.
If you have any questions about motor planning or how to adapt this activity to your child’s specific needs, contact your OT today!