Playing for Growth

Toddlers and young children develop and improve gross motor skills mostly through play, and one of the most fun ways of playing is with some fun gymnastics equipment like a tumbling barrel. Or maybe a cheese mat. Or even just a tumbling mat. All three encourage kids to think creatively, be active, and in the meantime, unbeknownst to them, develop crucial motor skills.

Beginning with the basics, tumbling mats are your foundation. If you get down on the mat with your child and do active, fun things, your child will associate activity with fun. Forget video games and electronics; “I want to play on the mat!” And that’s the kind of lifestyle that’s becoming more crucial as our culture becomes more sedentary and is cursed with chronic disease as a result. Have a tumble with your child. Teach her a somersault. Lose your balance and fall so your son knows that failing in practice is ok, that you just try again until you’ve mastered it.

To be honest, we think the cheese mat is probably the most appealing gymnastics apparatus you can have at home (and we encourage the use of a tumbling mat with it). Kids are drawn to climbing and sliding and rolling and the cheese mat provides just such opportunities. This solid incline apparatus can help with balance, control, body awareness, and skill development. As the child gets older and perhaps takes a gymnastics class or two, it becomes a practice possibility at home. It’s truly gymnastics equipment that lasts for years as your child’s skills develop.

While the tumbling barrel isn’t exactly part of an elite sporting competition, it is a fun developmental tool to have at home. Talk about rolling…the tumbling barrel will keep your kids on the move constantly! Balance, control, even some gymnastics skills can be practiced with a tumbling barrel. And the darn things are just fun to play with, too. Let their imaginations run wild!

You don’t have to have uneven bars in your home to encourage fun gymnastics activity, just a tumbling mat, maybe a cheese mat, or even a tumbling barrel. These will introduce your kids to the wonderful world of gymnastics and teach them the positivity of an active lifestyle.