All kids need to develop their gross motor skills and work their big muscles.
The easiest option is to go to a playground and let them climb. But if you don’t have one available or it’s too rainy, cold, or hot, it’s not doable.
Here are some great ideas to get your toddler or preschooler moving no matter the weather.
What Kinds of Activities Build Gross Motor Skills?
Any kind of movement of the large muscle groups can build your child’s gross motor skills.
Things like running, walking, jumping, climbing. All normal things kids do.
But also crawling, swinging a bat, balancing, and sometimes even stretching.
Play any kind of sport or do any kind of exercise like jumping rope or jumping jacks.
When Should Kids Work on Developing Gross Motor Skills?
Babies especially need to develop gross motor skills so they can learn to walk.
Toddlers are learning coordination and how to handle their own body.
One year olds and two year olds are ready for fun simple activities using their whole body.
Preschoolers are starting to be able to control their body a bit more.
And by three years old they’re ready to start playing fun games that help promote gross motor skills.
Kindergartners and older kids should still work on their gross motor skills and refine them.
You can check this guide to see if your child is behind in development.
21 Gross Motor Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers
Get your toddlers and preschoolers moving with these activities to promote gross motor development.
Sidewalk Chalk Obstacle Course
A bonus of this game is that it teaches your kids to follow directions and recognize shapes!
Pete the Cat Movement Activity Inspired by His Four Groovy Buttons
We love this book and this movement game.
5 Fun Scavenger Hunts
These scavenger hunts can be done inside or outside. And they can be modified for kids of all ages. It gets them up and moving.
Sidewalk Chalk Alphabet Cookie Themed Fun for Outdoors
Here's another fun book related activity that gets kids running around and learning about letters.
Outdoor Window Painting
If you're okay with messy play (especially outside) try this fun painting activity.
Backyard Color Match Game for Toddlers
Teach your toddlers and preschoolers about colors and matching with this outside game.
Gross Motor Water Transfer
Have your toddler or preschooler transfer water with this fun summer activity.
Jack be Nimble Nursery Rhyme
Remember the Jack Be Nimble rhyme? Jack be nimble, Jack be quick, Jack jump over the candlestick. Have your toddler or preschooler jumping over candlesticks in your living room.
Spider Web Obstacle Course Activity for Kids
Pretend to be spiders and make a web obstacle course.
Giant Pattern Blocks
Remember those shapes you can use to make patterns and pictures? I think we called them Tangrams. You can make giant ones!
Super Simple Gross Motor Activity
This one is really easy to do if you have some packing wrap from a recent Amazon purchase laying around.
Winter Gross Motor Dice
Here's a great indoor game for winter to promote gross motor development.
Jumping Lines Proprioceptive Gross Motor Activity
All you need for this indoor gross motor activity is some tape.
Gross Motor Farm Game
Here's a fun animal game. Not only does your child get some exercise, they also learn about animals and how they move.
Balloon Tennis Gross Motor Play Activity
I always forget this fun game. It's a great indoor game to play with little ones.
Under the Stars Game
This is a cute gross motor game for toddlers that involves reaching for the stars.
Tic Tac Toss
If you have some tape and bean bags, you can try playing Tic Tac Toss.
15 Animal Walks for Sensory Input
Here's a fun way to get energy out without any prep. The only thing you need is space.
Pool Noodle Agility Ladder
Make your own tire obstacle with pool noodles and turn your backyard in to a mini boot camp.
Ball In A Bag
This is a fun game you can play outside. You might need to modify it just a little for toddlers so they don't hit themselves in the face. But preschoolers and older kids should be fine.
Recycled Cardboard Box Ball Game
How about a fun game with boxes? My daughter loves playing with all of our Amazon boxes.
Does Your Toddler or Preschooler Like to Play Gross Motor Games?
Let me know in the comments below!
Also if you have any other ideas for gross motor activities for toddlers and preschoolers, I’d love to hear them.
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