Do you give your preschooler daily opportunities to develop their gross motor skills? Gross motor skills are the abilities gained by using the large muscles of the arm, legs and torso and are usually acquired during childhood as part of a child’s motor learning.
Gross motor activities:
- Help children to develop their balance and coordination.
- Give them the opportunity to build their muscles and endurance through physical activity and exercise.
- Support their brain health which increases focus and alertness too.
Another huge benefit I’ve noticed from doing regular gross motor activities with my little guys is the impact it has on their behavior and mood. Many times I’ll use gross motor games as a redirection and it really helps turn the day around for them.
Your child doesn’t need expensive equipment to practice their gross motor skills.
There are plenty of gross motor activities that require nothing at all or items you already have around your home. Here is a list of some simple items you most likely have on hand, including ways you can use them to develop your preschooler’s gross motor skills:
Hide a favorite stuffed animal and have your child find it. They’ll be working different muscles as they run through the house searching for it.
Use socks folded into a ball for your child to practice tossing into a hamper or throwing at a target.
Do you have a pool noodle in storage that is waiting for summer to arrive? Pool noodles make great balance beams. They’re excellent swords and bats too.
- Play parachute with your children by having everyone grab edges of a light-weight blanket or sheet. Then simultaneously lift the blanket up and back down, again and again. If you have enough children playing, little ones can take turns crawling under the blanket as it is lifted. For added fun put some lightweight balls or stuffed animals in the middle to toss and catch with the blanket.
- Make a tent with blankets, chairs, and a table. Your child will practice crawling while they play with it.
- Place some books or a toy to weigh down the blanket somewhat and then have your child pull the blanket around the room.
Pillows, Chairs, and Other Household Items
Make an obstacle course using items you have around your home. You could use pillows as stepping stones to hop to, chairs to crawl under or weave in and out of, and beds to climb over. The possibilities are endless. Obstacle courses are wonderful for targeting specific gross motor skills that your child needs extra help with too.
- Teach your little one to stack plastic cups. Then use balled up socks, pillows, or a stuffed animal for your child to throw at them and knock them all down.
- Make a line of plastic cups for your child to jump over.
- Stack the cups again. Then have your child kick a ball or socks towards them to knock them down.
- Play Keep It Up, the game where you hit the balloon again and again to keep it from touching the floor.
- Play baseball using a pool noodle as the bat or your child could even just use their arm to hit the balloon.
- Blow up multiple balloons and have your child try to round them all up to a designated spot.
- Have your child put the balloon between their legs and waddle like a penguin.
- Practice crawling while blowing the balloon across the floor.
I hope you have found some ideas for gross motor activities you can do with items you already have on hand. Looking for more gross motor games? Then be sure to grab these free Gross Motor Animal Action Cards.