Did you bounce your child on your lap as an infant? Does your child bunny hop in the backyard? Or pretend to jump like a kangaroo?
These are the beginning stages of your child learning the fundamental movement skill of springing. Also known as jumping, springing is an important part of your child’s overall development.
What is springing?
Springing involves children projecting themselves into the air. It can involve springing from both legs, one leg or even from two hands and two feet.
Springing activities can be sub-divided into two categories:
• unassisted (e.g. off the floor or bench)
• assisted (e.g. off a springboard, trampoline or beatboard)
Landing techniques must also be proficient before children perform any springing activities.
Benefits of jumping
“Jumping helps young kids develop physically, enjoy and play sport with more success and develop a love of movement”, says Tina Payne Bryson, Ph.D. (1)
Not only that, but a child who is competent in jumping (and the other fundamental movement skills) will keep moving! He or she will PLAY in other activities like dancing, jumping rope and hanging and swinging on the playground equipment.
On the other hand, a child who has less developed jumping skills may seek to avoid PLAY and physical activity. Studies show that these children are less likely to PLAY in an after-school game of tag or hopscotch or climb the monkey bars during recess.
And a child with poor fundamental movement skills tends to become an inactive adult. With the significant health hazards related to inactivity – obesity, heart disease, diabetes and other risks – it just makes sense to teach children how to jump and move.
But doesn’t jumping come naturally to children?
According to a landmark study by the University of Sydney, many children are struggling to learn how to run, jump, kick and catch. (2)
Dr. Louise Hardy from the School of Public Health says, “It is a misconception that children ‘naturally’ learn these skills… but this research shows that they need to be taught and practiced.”(3)
The fundamental movement skills are like any skill – reading, writing, cooking; they need to be taught, they need to be practiced and there needs to be feedback.
PLAY Gymnastics BC clubs are the perfect place to learn and master jumping
PLAY Gymnastics clubs throughout B.C. have coaches trained to teach the fundamental movement patterns to children of all ages – some even before your child can walk!
The Gymnastics Foundations Active Start program trains coaches to progressively teach the proper spring techniques safely while having FUN! This includes the importance of strong core and how to safely land.
Games like “Monkey runs” and “Bunny hop” are perfect to develop the coordination, strength, and proper techniques.
Check out your local PLAY Gymnastics BC club for more on how your child can learn while PLAYing and having fun.
The University of Sydney: Learning how to jump and throw of key importance to children’s health
Body Sense: Your child may have difficulty running, jumping, catching and throwing (and why you should be concerned), Alan Fogel, Ph.D.
Young Children: Why Motor Skills Matter, Rae Pica
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