Gross motor activities help preschoolers develop their large muscle groups, – their arms, legs, back, and stomach. Parents start working on gross motor skills with their children as infants when they encourage them to roll, crawl, stand, and walk. As your child grows they continue to strengthen and develop these large muscle groups. While jumping and running around require gross motor skills, so do everyday activities like getting dressed and putting on a jacket. In contrast, fine motor skills are done with small muscles : your hands, fingers, and thumb.
Below you’ll find a collection of fun, kid-tested, activity ideas you can use to help strengthen your child’s gross motor skills.
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Gross motor activities help build strength and endurance. As your child develops these muscles their balance and coordination will also improve. Children are generally excited to show off these new skills to you, like when they can kick a ball further or do some tricky move they couldn’t do before. They’ll look to you, as their parent for encouragement. As a result, this is a great way to build more confidence and self-esteem for the child.
Examples of Gross Motor Activities for Preschoolers
Gross motor skills activities are anything that gets them up and moving. Generally, young children don’t tend to have a problem in this area – they are often so full of energy and want to be moving around. But it’s always fun to introduce new ways to challenge your little one. Here’s some great outdoor gross motor activities you can try:
Outdoor Gross Motor Activities for Preschoolers
- practice walking on a balance beam or the broader around a playground
- start by holding an adult’s hand
- then by themselves
- then backward
- play with balls ( throw, catch, kick)
- play with hula hoops
- play hopscotch
- set up an obstacle course
- chase bubbles
- chase butterflies
- play with bean bags
- riding toys (cars, tricycles, scooters)
- push toy trucks through the grass or dirt
- going for walks around the neighborhood
- hiking through the woods
- play with jump ropes
- simple games without equipment – classic outdoor games you grew up with
- Red Light, Green Light
- Simon Says
- Mother May I
- What Time is It Mr. Fox
- Ring Around the Rosie
- London Bridges
- Duck, Duck, Goose
- Kick around a soccer ball.
- If your child shows interest in soccer, you may want to look into the Soccer Shots program. It’s 8-week program for young kids. They have a 2 to 3-year-old age group, a 3 to 5-year-old age group, and a 5 to 8-year-old age group. The children don’t play an actual soccer game but they learn age-appropriate soccer skills. Preschoolers who love kicking a ball around love this program. I’ve observed them as a classroom teacher and a Mimi.
- Teach your child how to safely explore new playground equipment like the monkey bars or jungle gym.
- Look into classes for preschoolers like gymnastics, dance, or martial arts.
- Find a co-op in your area that allows preschoolers. They often do P.E. and other fun activities.
Indoor Gross Motor Activities for Preschoolers
Remember kids need physical activity even on a rainy day. Here are some fun gross motor activities you can do in your own living room.
- getting dressed/putting on a jacket
- climbing stairs
- keep a balloon in the air
- playing in boxes
- moving like animals (hopping like a frog, waddling like a duck)
- dance to music – have a dance party This is a fun activity that gets their whole body moving
- try different movements dancing to music with scarfs
- building a fort with couch cushions
- play with balls of different sizes
- hit balls around with pool noodles or try throwing balls into an empty laundry basket or cardboard box
- make a hopscotch board on the floor with masking tape
Music is a fun way to get preschoolers up and moving. I have a collection of great songs I know firsthand, that preschoolers love! I have used them in classrooms as well as in our home. Many of these songs are educational so as your child moves around to the music, they may learn a thing or two in addition to the physical activity they’ll be getting, not to mention these songs are just plain FUN!
More easy and FUN Gross Motor Activities for Preschoolers
- Gross Motor Activities for Preschoolers on Tothood 101 Pinterest
- 20 Bean Bag Actiivties You Kids Will Love by Empowered Parents
- Gross Motor Activities for Preschoolers: The Top 35! by Hands on We Grow
- Gross Motor Skill Activities by Days With Grey
Be sure to check out more preschool activities and motor skill activities: