Teach Your Kids Basic Gymnastic Moves at Home
Published on September 13th, 2012 | by Frances Kerfoot
The moves that are covered in this guide are very basic and are ones that kids will probably try on their own if they see other kids doing them. This guide is meant to give you some pointers on how to help your kids perform the moves properly if they are trying them at home.
A couple of things to keep in mind before you get started. Make sure you are spotting your child when they are learning the moves. Most of the videos that are included in this guide show you how to do this. Also before having your child do any gymnastics, be sure to have them stretch for at least ten minutes in order to prevent injury and warm up their muscles.
For the following four tumbling exercises the (forward roll, the bridge, cart wheels and the splits) you should make sure you are not practicing on a hard floor or surface, you will need to use something as a mat. If you don’t have a gymnastics mat you can use old sofa cushions, a mattress or any large pieces of foam you might have lying around that will provide enough support to prevent injury.
The Somersault/Forward Roll
When you are attempting to teach a child a somersault, make sure you are doing this on a soft surface. In some of the videos you will see the kids using incline mats or cheese mats (because they look like a wedge of cheese). These mats help children get started doing somersaults and other moves where they need help getting their head over their heels. You can make an incline mat by piling up cushions underneath a larger cushion.
The following video has good tips for spotting younger kids that you are trying to teach:
The next video has a good forward roll demonstration using an incline mat:
Have your child lie on the floor with their feet near his bottom and their hands by their ears and help him push up into a bridge.
If you don’t have a lot of space in your house, have your child practice their cartwheels outside to avoid the risk of injury. The following video give you some good instructions on what to do for a successful cartwheel.
The splits are a move that can be super easy for some kids, but for most it takes a bit of work to master. The key to doing the splits is to work on your stretches, so make sure your kids go easy on this when just starting out.
There are a couple of steps to mastering the handstand. The following video shows the progression.
The Balance Beam
There are a few different approaches you can take for the balance beam. For very young children you can make a balance beam on the floor using masking tape. Create a masking tape balance beam that is about 8 feet long and 4 inches wide. As the child gets better at walking on the balance beam, they can try doing things like going sideways, backwards, cartwheels, hops, or somersaults. If you want to make something more advanced check out this blog post on how to make homemade balance beam at In Lieu of Preschool. If you wanted to buy a beam you could get something like this High Density Foam Balance Beam.
This video has a great demo on what small kids can do on a simple balance beam.
Warning The advice in this guide is not meant to replace a knowledgeable gymnastics coach. GradeInfinity cannot be held responsible for any accidents in gymnastics that may occur from following any tips that are included in this post.
photo credit: CharNewcomb via photopin cc