6 Fun Drills for Preschool Cartwheels
A cartwheel is a foundation skill necessary to gymnastics development. It is a skill that comes easy to some and yet poses difficulties for others. Coaching preschoolers, we're able to break down the cartwheel into a series of easier drills; promoting body awareness, flexibility, and upper body strength all while getting them closer to the cartwheel.
We use many fun drills in the Preschool Gymnastics program to introduce children to the world of cartwheels. After all, these kiddos are just starting out so we want them to have fun and gain confidence. We focus on cross-lateral movements, using the arms or legs to cross over our body's invisible mid-line, which is an important part of child development. Cross-lateral movements not only help a child learn how to do a cartwheel but these developments also helps the child learn how to read and write. In addition, many of these drills help develop core strength, introduce the child to the transfer of his weight, and help the child become more and more comfortable with being in a vertical position.
6 Drills for Preschool Cartwheels
- Using the Original red blocks, the gymnasts place their hands, then hop feet from one side to the other
- Handstand walks up a wedge mat, around a donut mat, or across a block mat develop upper body strength and help the child feel comfortable being upside down.
- Playing hopscotch helps the child learn how to transfer his weight from one foot to two feet and back again.
- Playing Hot Potato, which is passing a bean bag to the person next to you, helps to promote cross-lateral movements.
- Balancing on one foot, then the other helps to build core strength and introduces the transferring of weight.
- Hopping into and out of the donut or rainbow wheel promotes the transferring of weight as well as builds upper body strength.
What I love most about teaching these drills is that they're attainable and help the child gain confidence. Little do they know they're getting stronger and one step closer to learning a cartwheel. The next time your see your preschool gymnasts accomplish any of the the skills listed above, make sure to give them a big high five! And remember, these skills are helping a child in more ways than one!
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