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Jumping Toys for Vestibular Input and Attention and Focus
This article provides helpful jumping toys to improve your child’s vestibular system, proprioception and gross motor development. Affiliate links are included for your convenience. Integrated Learning Strategies (ILS) is a learning and academic center. As a reminder, ILS is not a health care provider and none of our materials or services provide a diagnosis or treatment of a specific condition or learning challenge you may see in your child or student. If you seek a diagnosis or treatment for your child or student, please contact a trained professional who can provide an evaluation of the child.
Jumping may not seem like an important developmental milestone for children, but it’s one of the activities children need for better gross motor strength, proprioception, motor planning, balance and core muscle. Without this development, your child’s lower levels of the brain (cerebellum) used for balance, coordination, and attention and rhythm, could become underdeveloped. This could lead to delays in learning, sensory-seeking behavior, or attention and focus issues in the classroom.
Typically, children will begin with little hops a few months after they begin walking. Eventually, they will develop more strength and balance as they jump off furniture, hop on one foot, and jump down stairs. As your child begins to jump (around the age of 1 ½ or 2), the joints, muscles and ligaments in their knees, ankles, and feet will become stronger for better proprioception.
As your child begins jumping, you will see a series of preparatory movements before they refine their development skills. Some of the signs you may notice include the following:
- Rocking forward
- Stepping sideways
- Squatting to get in the ready position
- Shifting their weight
- Alternating their legs when hopping
All of these movements are good signs your child’s muscle strength is getting ready for full-sized jumps.
Every child is different in how and when they develop. However, if you continue to notice delays with jumping and other gross motor activities, you may start to see some of the following signs:
- Drags one side of their body or can’t use the weaker side to initiate movement.
- Prepares to jump by squatting, but can’t get their feet off the floor (weak muscles).
- Falls, trips, is uncoordinated and can’t keep their balance.
- Experiences vertigo when trying to jump or resists activities that encourage the movement.
Jumping Toys for Better Development
If your child shows resistance to activities that require jumping, you may need to strengthen their muscles and joints. The best method is to ease your child into these types of activities and use jumping toys to make it fun and enjoyable. Many students are more willing and able to do activities when a toy or object is introduced and included with each exercise. Here are some of our favorites to encourage jumping in your house or practice.
Integrated Learning Strategies is a Utah-based center dedicated to helping mainstream children and children with learning challenges achieve academic success. Our services provide kids with non-traditional tutoring programs within the Davis County, Kaysville, Layton, Syracuse, Farmington, and Centerville areas. Areas to find Integrated Learning Strategies include: Reading tutors in Kaysville, Math tutors in Kaysville, Common Core Tutors in Kaysville, Tutors in Utah, Utah Tutoring Programs