Who remembers that feeling of nervousness, mixed with excitement, when you were chosen by your elementary school teacher to go up and write something on the chalkboard? Or perhaps it was a whiteboard for you younger folks. Do you know that the benefits of that particular activity go much further than just getting you accustomed to getting up in front of an “audience”? It turns out that working on a vertical surface is an important activity for child development. Now don’t get worried about trying to think up ways to get your kiddo standing up for fun activities. I’ve got you covered here with some simple and engaging ways to play and learn vertically. Read on for some simple ideas.
Why Go Vertical?
So why is it so beneficial to work on a vertical surface? Is it really that important to child development? I checked in with the pediatric therapists over at Everyday Baby Play, (how can you go wrong with an Occupational Therapist, Speech Therapist and Audiologist?), and they summed it up for me.
Working on a vertical surface:
- Puts wrist in an extended position which helps with holding pencils.
- Helps with core strengthening because there is no chair to lean back on.
- Helps with hand strength because you have to work against gravity.
- Puts work at eye level, and it works on shoulder stability and strength which you need in order to use those distal muscles (fingers).
Looking for simple and effective child development activities? Check out the great stuff from the pros @everydaybabyplay.
What Is A Vertical Surface?
Well, I think that we all know what “vertical” means, but we may get stuck trying to imagine all of the possible vertical surfaces that we can incorporate into activities for our kids. The obvious ones are the chalkboard, whiteboard and easel. And we know that kids can do all sorts of fun things like painting, drawing and writing using these surfaces. But how about some less common vertical surfaces?
Let’s start in the kitchen. If you have a magnetic refrigerator, then that is a great vertical surface. Put some magnetic letters or shapes on the fridge and your little one can get in some vertical time while you do some meal prep. See? This isn’t complicated!
You Have Options
Now, don’t limit yourself to the fridge; how about using all of that wall space in your house? I know, you don’t want to damage your walls that you finally got painted just the way that you want them! Well BAM! Tape is perfect for walls! It is bright and fun and goes on the wall easily. Best part…it comes off easily when you are ready to remove it. Additionally, kids love tape, and it’s a great fine motor skills tool. Check out this adorable Tin Man created by the brilliant @schooledbymama for a fun Valentines game.
And did I mention glass? We all have windows and mirrors that can do so much more than just get smudged! Julia, the sparkling mom who fills her feed @weneedmoreglitter with tons of creativity, used a mirror for a self portrait activity. How genious is that? She also created a tic-tac-toe board on a window using BAM! Tape. Two great ways to get in some vertical activity! Go check out her IG feed, she tells you exactly how she sets these activities up.
Take It Outside
If you love getting your kids outside, there are all kinds of vertical surfaces to choose from. Paint a tree trunk with chalk paint, write with chalk on a brick wall, or try out this fun idea from @everydaybabyplay and use your fence as an easel for artwork. She used BAM! Tape to hold up some cardboard on the fence. So easy!
Amanda is a super clever mom and paired up a vertical surface activity with a Nature Color Hunt. She had the whole vertical thing going, but by adding the scavenger hunt she tacked on running, lifting, pulling, grasping and I don’t doubt a little bit of jumping! Oh yeah, she also mixed in some color recognition, and she used my favorite masking tape of course! And the clincher here is that it took her all of 5 minutes to set up this “big bang for your buck” activity. You can see all of Amanda’s creative yet simple ideas on her IG feed @sweetmommyhood. Amanda is a busy mom and daycare operator, but she found time to write a Baby Play Ebook that you can download here.
Ready To Go Vertical?
I hope that this article has helped you learn about why working on A vertical surface is important for child development. I’m going to leave you with one final idea, but don’t stop there, let your creativity loose and experiment with your own vertical challenges. And then please share them in comments so that the rest of us moms can try them out.
This final vertical activity comes courtesy of another fab mama named Amanda. She is a teacher and mom, and full of ideas worth trying. She made this amazing lego wall using a magnetic lego base, and she uses it for not only building, but also writing and storytelling activities. Get the scoop directly from @preschool_mama you won’t be disappointed!
Looking for more info about the developmental benefits of using vertical surfaces? Then check out this great article from The Inspired Treehouse.