Let’s talk about gross motor activities for toddlers and preschoolers.
We know our children cannot stop moving, jumping, and climbing. But why is encouraging these gross motor activities for toddlers and preschoolers important?
Gross motor skills are essential for moving the body and better understanding how our bodies work.
Achieving this large muscle control takes time and practice. As children master simple tasks, they can move on to more complicated ones, improving self-awareness and confidence.
I know that physical activity at home all day can seem complicated, but we are here to simplify things, from jumping on the couch to streamlining into an action.
This gross motor activity list will give you actionable tips to strengthen gross motor muscles at home with your toddlers and preschoolers using items you already own. Read here about why gross motor skills matter.
Back away from your Amazon cart. We have easy gross motor activities you can do with your children right now with supplies you most likely already own.
What are examples of gross motor skills?
Gross motor activities can strengthen large muscles and build coordination.
- Body awareness
- Muscle tone
- Crossing the midline
The difference between fine and gross motor skills is the muscles used.
Gross motor muscles include whole-body movement with the larger muscles such as the torso, arms, and legs. It also involves coordination and balance.
Fine motor control includes the fingers, hands, and wrists to improve agility.
We are also huge advocates for fine motor activities and have an entire post dedicated to fine motor skills. Strengthening these muscles helps with self-help skills down the road, such as zipping, buttoning, writing, cutting, and much more!
RELATED: Did you know that balance helps improve reading?
Looking for the best toys for Block Play?
Blocks encourage gross motor skills for toddlers, preschoolers, and big kids.
Indoor Gross Motor Activities
The reality with kids is that sometimes we are home all day, and they have a lot of energy to get out. Here is a list of fun indoor gross motor activities for your toddler, preschooler, and big kids!
But first! Our favorite indoor to for gross motor activities are blocks.
Magnetic tiles bowling makes a legendary indoor activity for kids. Some days call for extra snacks; others call for magnetic tiles bowling. Spoiler alert, in this case, calls for both. – Because you know kids are hungry all. Of. The. Time. Gather that collection of magnetic tiles and get playing today!
The boys played with the wooden train tracks for days. The only reason we cleaned it up was that I needed to walk without tripping over a track. Sounds reasonable in my books, but they begged for more!
Regardless of the supplies, creative activities come from taking an idea and designing a product on your terms. This indoor mini-golf course made with train tracks is right on track to innovational thinking and learning through play.
Grab the apples, some water, and a scooper to sort the apples by color with your toddler or preschooler—a great way to strengthen arm muscles and hold a steady hand.
This gross motor activity has children practice thier pouring skills without the mess! This water play activity is a hit and also introduces measurement.
Let’s get moving with an indoor scavenger hunt. Read the color word and find something to bring back to the table. (Makes a terrific early morning Breakfast Invitation)
Try this hilarious indoor game for preschoolers. We all know children learn and play in various ways, and this indoor game for preschoolers is a hoot! When planning simple games, I want to touch on the different play categories and integrate various concepts that prepare our children for life. Kindergarten topics are important, but life skills are essential.
I can assure you that one thing preschoolers (and moms) need to do is MOVE. – and this is exactly what this movement cube encourages! Bring it on!
Now, I know that writing and moving your body are not typically seen together. Prewriting with colors is like a little secret mission. Here, your child moves left to right and sees lines like straights, zigzags, and curves, just like we form lines and letters. When we prewrite with colors and movement, we help our children make connections to the letters of the alphabet.
Watching a young child’s expression as their hand sticks and slowly peels off the paper is hysterical. Sticky pumpkin is a fun fall activity to explore this adhesive as you hopefully get to enjoy it from the sidelines.
Gross Motor Primary Color Hunt
Color hunts are bright and colorful and engage young learners like no other. Not to pick favorites, but this primary color indoor hunt is just the best. Once my preschoolers were able to identify the colors red, blue, and yellow, this primary color activity was ON. And I am here to share it with the world. Yup, it’s that good!
Outdoor sensory play supplies are our summer staple.
It is time to restock the outdoor sensory supplies and prepare for fun water play!
Outdoor Gross Motor Activities
We love a fun pumpkin activity! Even better? Add the pumpkin activity with getting outside and sharing some laughs to make it a true winner! This fall activity for kids is a blast. Let’s get started on this gross motor activity for kids!
Sometimes indoor toys need a change of scenery, and sometimes kids need a new way to play outdoors. This new configuration was exactly what we all needed. As they explored some physical Science with problem-solving, I got to catch my breath alongside them.
Not only did my two-year-old love this game, but my four and six-year-old did as well. Grab the chalk and head outside. YOU MUST PLAY THIS OUTDOOR GROSS MOTOR GAME!
Bring your water beads outside! It’s time to get kids moving with water bead outdoor races! It was close to bedtime, yet no one was ready. I am pretty sure you can relate. So we detoured a bit and got our jitters out with water bead play. Only this time, the water beads aren’t for sensory play. They are for an ultimate movement game. And it was a blast!
This outdoor game took some chalk, a recycled box, and a driveway for a lot of laughter.
Learn math outdoors with this color sorting activity for toddlers! This outdoor math activity will allow your toddler to color, sort, get fresh air, and move! A winning combination for all!
Let’s retell one of our favorite books for Thanksgiving with this ball-bouncing activity to strengthen large muscles.
Lately, I have had a couple of requests for writing activities. This preschool activity is fantastic because your child will be writing and moving. It is the combination of prewriting movement magic for gross motor skills!
We have plenty of time to build upon the necessary math skills. Right now, allow your preschooler to play, manipulate, and discover new math concepts. This practice will give them the experience to take math to a higher level when they enter Kindergarten.
I needed a toddler jumping activity. We were trying to teach our three-year-old how to hop, and he could use a little practice. We needed a toddler jumping activity to help move him along. So, we grabbed some painter’s tape (a personal favorite) and whipped up a fun game to improve gross motor strength!
Yep! The outdoor color hunt is also one of the first activities we have ever played on this little corner of the web. Look how little my oldest is. – pinch me. I cannot believe how my toddler has grown if you are new here, welcome! Here is a glimpse of how we spend our days with play.
Which gross motor activity will you play with your toddler or preschooler?
Crossing the midline
Gross motor skills are essential for moving the body and better understanding how our bodies work. Achieving this large muscle control takes time and practice. As children master simple tasks, they can move on to more complicated ones, improving self-awareness and confidence.