If you’re anything like me, I bet you look at children running, jumping, and playing and wish you had as much ENERGY as they do! Children LOVE to play and explore how their bodies move. From balancing on one foot, to spinning in circles, they are always coming up with new things they can do. These are all part of physical & health skills.
This physical exploration is wonderful because it helps children build their gross motor muscles, balance, coordination, and muscle control. These are just a few of the physical & health skills that children need before kindergarten. We’ll walk you through the other skills your child/student needs to know, how to assess where they’re at, and what you can do to help build their skills before they start kindergarten.
Did you miss part 1 of this series? No worries! You can read it here.
1. Fine Motor Skills
- How to Assess: Can your child control crayons, pencils, and scissors? Can they use hand-eye coordination by completing tasks such as stringing beads to make a necklace?
- How to Develop:
- Do art projects with your child/student(s)! Children love any and everything that is crafty! Do projects where they can color with markers, crayons, or paint daubers and cut with scissors.
- Provide learning materials that develop hand-eye coordination. Have children pick up pom poms with tweezers and sort them by color into muffin tins. We also have great activities to choose from that help develop fine motor skills, such as our Letter Search and Match and Sort It Letter-Sound Correspondence, and Play Dough Number Mats hands-on activities.
2. Gross Motor Skills
- How to Assess: Does your child demonstrate body and space awareness (i.e. when they’re walking, they don’t run into others or objects)? Can they balance on things (one foot, balance beam, etc.)? Can they run, jump, skip, hop, and crawl with confidence?
- How to Develop:
- Make obstacle courses for your child to use. Have them jump over hurdles, crawl under objects, zig zag in and out of things, and make sharp turns.
- Provide a jump rope and hula hoop for your child to play with! They’ll develop their gross motor muscles and coordination while having a blast!
3. Healthy Habits
- How to Assess: Does your wash their hands after they use the bathroom and before they eat meals? Do they use a clean tissue to blow their nose and sneeze/cough into their elbow? Do they properly dispose of tissues and wash their hands afterwards?
- How to Develop: These healthy habits may seem obvious, but it can take children a lot of reminding and showing by example for them to do it independently every time.
- Teach your children to wash their hands after they go to the bathroom. Check in with them after they have gone to the bathroom independently to see if they remembered to wash their hands.
- Show your children how to cough and sneeze into their elbow so they don’t spread germs.
- Remind them to use a tissue instead of wiping their nose with their hand or their sleeve and to wash their hands afterwards.
It’s important for children to master these PHYSICAL & HEALTH SKILLS before kindergarten. Strengthening their large and small muscles and practicing healthy behavior will directly impact their future health and well-being.
This article only covers some of our physical & health skills assessment questions. We provide our full assessment containing the list of skills children need for kindergarten for FREE in our next article.