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Gross Motor Skills Activities for Preschoolers

What are Gross Motor Skills Activities?

Gross motor skills 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, 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 things like getting dressed and putting on a jacket.

In contrast, fine motor skills are done with your hands, finger, and thumb.

Below you’ll find a collection of fun, kid-tested, activity ideas you can use to help your preschooler develop and strengthen their large gross motor skills.

Cartoon children playing at a park

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The Importance of Gross Motor Skills

Gross motor skills 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 can lead to more confidence and self-esteem for the child.

Examples of Gross Motor Skills Activities for Preschoolers

Gross motor skills activities are basically anything that gets them up and moving. Generally, preschoolers 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 ideas you could try:

  • play with balls ( throw, catch, kick)
  • play with hula hoops
  • play hopscotch
  • set up an obstacle course
  • walk on a curb or balancing beam
  • chase bubbles
  • chase butterflies
  • riding toys (cars, tricycles)
  • push toy trucks through the grass or dirt
  • practice walking on a beam or sidewalk curb ( around 4 or 5 yrs old)
    1. start by holding an adult’s hand
    2. then by themselves
    3. then backward
  • going for walks around the neighborhood
  • outdoor games without equipment – classic outdoor games you grew up with
    • Tag
    • Hide-n-Seek
    • Red Light, Green Light
    • Simon Say
    • Mother May I
    • What Time is It Mr. Fox
    • Ring Around the Rosie
    • London Bridges
    • Duck, Duck, Goose

Indoor Gross Motor Activities for Preschoolers

  • 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)
  • dancing to music
  • moving to music with scarfs
  • building a fort with couch cushions
  • make a hopscotch board on the floor with masking tape for your child to jump on

Movement Songs

Below you will find a link to a collection of my favorite Movement Preschool Songs on Spotify

Movement Preschool Songs on Spotify

Be sure to check out more motor skill topics:

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