We’re all so familiar with horizontal surfaces for activities of all kinds, but what about vertical surfaces? This is a different way to play that deserves extra attention. In fact, vertical surfaces benefit kids in ways where horizontal surfaces fall short. While we know you don’t want to catch your child coloring on the walls of your home, you can rest easy knowing that there are many ways to play on vertical surfaces that won’t cause crazy messes or take a lot of time to set up. Use what you have, get creative, and get to playing on vertical surfaces!
Vertical Surfaces and Movement
Working on horizontal surfaces is limiting for body movement, not to mention that your child remains stationary for the time spent sitting. Coincidentally, this can result in poor posture and can be straining on the muscles. With vertical surfaces, the shackles of limited movement will lift. Huzzah! Vertical surface work encourages good kids posture and more movement. This type of play is helpful for teaching your child about crossing their midline as they will need to reach their hand across their body, up, down, and all around. As your child sits up or stands up to work on a vertical surface, they will also improve core strength and use bigger arm movements that promote shoulder and elbow stability. Vertical surfaces are a sneaky way to have fun while keeping the body aligned and strong. Just look at those powerful arms and strong core!
Vertical Surface Play Comes with Other Benefits
There’s no doubt that vertical surfaces can help your child with fine motor skill development. It’s more than that though. Working vertically benefits wrist extension, which in turn, will boost fine motor skills and pencil grip. Just like a televised infomercial, we’re going to say, “And, wait! There’s more!” Vertical surface play also enhances development in other areas. Let’s break them down.
This means that your child is using both sides of their body to work on a task. If your child is writing and holding a paper still at the same time, this would be bilateral coordination.
Visual Attention/Focus and Hand-Eye Coordination
Activities with vertical surfaces encourage your child to focus on the visual stimulus and improve hand-eye coordination. Hand-eye coordination is when your child is able to work on an activity that requires simultaneous use of both hands and eyes. Vertical surface play provides benefits here because the task is closer to the eyes as opposed to when your child works on a horizontal surface.
This involves your ability to understand your body position in relation to objects. Your child will be able to understand their position with a vertical surface better as they move their body in different directions from up and down to left and right.
If your child has trouble sitting still, vertical surfaces offer a much larger opportunity to move around and fidget while still being able to complete a task.
Take on Vertical Play at Home
Vertical surfaces are typically very easy to find at home or in the classroom. Any place that has a wall is a way to go for vertical surface play. You can mix things up by having your child stand, kneel (as long as they have good posture), or even work on a Bosu ball for an extra balance challenge. If you need a few more ideas on kids play ideas in your home, we have your back!
Letter Magnets or Words on the Fridge – Work on a poem or a letter to a top secret agent on the fridge.
Use White Boards or Chalkboards for Kids – Play teacher in front of all of your stuffed animals. Teach them about writing, history, science, and don’t forget, arithmetic.
Shaving Cream Finger Painting – Tape a large piece of paper to the wall and get a little messy with shaving cream. Draw a zoo scene on paper using shaving cream.
Sticker Charts and Walls – Play with stickers on the wall on a piece of paper. Create a comic book using only the stickers you have available.
Complete the Colored Marker Maze and Play-Doh – Make a maze out of marker on the wall for your child to complete and go through. Have them leave a trail of Play-Doh to complete the maze.
Traditional Writing with Utensil of Choice – We know so many kiddos that love creating restaurant menus. Have your child make a breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert menu vertically for their new restaurant.
Get creative with it and do what works for you and your home. You often just need paper, a piece of tape, and a writing utensil. If you notice your child is struggling with coordination or movement in any way, reach out to us today.
We’re likely working ‘horizontally’ when creating new social media posts, but that doesn’t mean we don’t take breaks for some vertical movement time. Come follow us for more handy info on Facebook or Instagram.