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 sets 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 sitting, standing, lying down, upside down, spinning, standing still
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. This will definitely give stimulation to their proprioception and vestibular processing.
3. Make and indoor obstacle course
This one if a firm favorite in my household. First of all, make a DIY crash mat on the floor with blankets. Next, bring in some soft objects, like bean bags, laundry baskets, cushions and pillows to make obstacles, tunnels, walkways and such. You can hang up the blankets on strings or hats stands, and you can even use chairs and sofas as long as you are careful and make sure that there is no way they will fall on your child. Then you can let the kids try to get from one end to the other. You can even make it a race if you feel like it.
4. Balancing beams
This is another great and simple sensory activity to set up, and can be done indoors or outdoors. All you need is a wooden beam or plank strong enough to support your child’s weight; an old 2×4 lying around might just do the trick. You can start with just putting it on the ground for younger kids, but for older ones you might need to prop it up on something like small chairs or bricks. As simple as it sounds, walking along it will be great for their proprioception and vestibular processing.
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 to stop them getting hurt.