Don’t let cool weather get you and the kids down! Autumn offers many opportunities for outdoor play. Not only will children have tons of fun, they will also develop their physical literacy.
What is Physical Literacy?
Physical literacy is the ability to move the body easily, efficiently, and confidently in many ways throughout life. It is just as important for childhood development as learning letters, numbers, and sounds!
A child with well developed physical literacy skills often has increased engagement in physical activity and exercise throughout life, which can result in:
- a lower risk of diseases like cancer, heart disease, and osteoporosis
- increased brain plasticity, resulting in better test scores, cognitive function, and brain health
- stronger mental health, self esteem, and emotional stability
Autumn Leaf Activities
All of the activities you likely do with autumn leaves already have some awesome benefits!
Raking the Leaves
Raking the leaves is great exercise-grown ups can likely attest to this! Learning to rake is a great skill for developing strength, stability, and coordination. It is also an opportunity to develop team work, responsibility, and work ethic.
- Holding onto a rake challenges grip and wrist strength.
- Lifting a rake requires full body strength, especially within the shoulder, arm, and core muscles.
- Pulling back on the rake requires muscles of the back line, including those that stabilize the spine, the pelvis, and the shoulders.
- Scooping leaves into bags requires hand, shoulder, and chest muscles, as well as leg muscles to lift.
- Tying bags closed requires strength and control in the hands, also known as fine motor movement proficiency.
- Pulling or lifting bags of leaves requires the participation of all major muscle groups in the body!
Playing in the Leaves
Playing in the leaves is a favourite autumn activity for many! It also happens to have many benefits when it comes to physical literacy.
- Throwing leaves develops a particularly difficult movement for many children. Try throwing upwards, underhand, and overhand.
- Jumping in the leaves develops proficiency and strength for all types of jumping. Try a cannonball, a two foot puddle jump, or a one foot hop.
- Rolling in the leaves helps develop coordination and centre line strength needed for twisting and moving without the arms.
- Making leaf angels is great for coordination and and sensory perception.
Have a lovely fall and enjoy playing in the leaves!
One of the most important ways to ensure physical literacy is to make sure you enjoy being active. What better way to help a child develop their love of movement than getting outdoors to explore!