by Alison Clodfelter, PT, DPT

April is finally here, and you know what that means, APRIL SHOWERS! With April showers comes so many PUDDLES! We know how much your kiddos probably love to jump in puddles, and while it may get their clothes a little wet, it certainly is fun! Jumping is also great for coordinating the muscles of your tummy and back with your arms and legs because all these different muscle groups need to fire at just the right times. This needs to happen in a certain sequence for each jump to occur, which means it is helpful to practice different kinds of jumps to learn all kinds of coordination patterns!

You and your kiddo may want to pull out your rain boots for these fun puddle jumps to keep your feet dry:

1. Jumping AROUND the puddles: Jumping two feet apart then two feet together: Start with both feet together (in front of your puddle), then jump forward and move both feet apart at the same time (two feet outside of the puddle). Then jump with two feet back together to make it to the other side of your puddle!

2. One foot puddle jump: Start with two feet in front of your puddle, then hop onto one foot RIGHT INTO THE PUDDLE (SPLASH)! Now jump back onto two feet! Turn around and try jumping into the puddle on your other foot!

3. One foot OVER the puddles: Start on the side of your puddle on one foot, quickly bend the knee your standing on and jump sideways OVER the puddle to land on your other foot. Try not to land in the puddle! Keep repeating this and see how many sideways jumps you can do without getting your feet wet!

4. Backwards puddle jumps: Jumping backward gives a whole new moving view of the world to your kiddo while they are trying to coordinate their jumping, challenging their coordination with a new visual flow, making their brain work in a new way to move!

5. Puddle LEAPS: Have your child RUN up to the puddles, lift one foot off the ground, and push off the leg that is still on the ground to do one big LEAP over the puddle. Again, try not to land in the puddle, and see how many you can do without making a splash!

6. Puddle Half Turns: We had to end with one right in the puddle! Start with your rain boots standing in the puddle. Jump UP and turn your whole body 180 degrees to do one half turn. This one is great for coordinating the rotational muscles of your tummy with your jump.

These fun jumps can of course be performed without puddles too if you don’t want to get messy! Happy puddle jumping!

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