In an age of electronic entertainment and plugged-in play, many classic childhood games are being pushed aside. However, these classic games provide key benefits for child development. In this series of posts, we will explore how these “unplugged” activities are more than just child’s play.
Dig out that sidewalk chalk! Creating a hopscotch grid requires the child to maintain grasp on a piece of chalk while drawing shapes and numbers. Tossing a bean bag onto the grid addresses force grading, timing and release. Playing hopscotch encourages development of bilateral coordination skills such as hopping and is a great motivation to improve standing balance on one foot. Ankle reactions and other postural reactions help the child to start and stop moving as they move across the area. The child will receive proprioceptive input and linear vestibular input from jumping. Children who are sensitive to changes in head position may be motivated to tolerate brief periods of head inversion when bending over to pick up the bean bag tossed onto the grid. For children who struggle with acquiring new motor plans, hopscotch provides the opportunity to practice the movements repeatedly in a structured manner until they master the movement.