Practicing Gross Motor Skills

I think having your child practice their motor skills is one of the best things you can do for them.  In fact, I featured motor skills as #5 on my list of The Top 5 Most Important Things to Do with Your Toddler/Preschooler.

See my #5 post for some of the ways we personally have given L&L opportunities to practice their motor skills.  This is a follow-up post listing even more ways we practice gross motor skills. 

Here are some gross motor recommendations:

  • Jump
  • Run
  • Play games where you move for awhile and then practice “freezing”
  • Practice walking, running, or “driving” along a line
    • You can make a line with chalk, tape, paper, cones, etc.
  • Walk on a balance beam
    • We built a simple one using a long board and two shorter boards added as feet to keep it from rolling over, attached perpendicular to the long board on each end; we used some scrap wood we had in the garage to build it.
  • Ride tricycles, scooters, scooter boards, and bicycles
Luke on his Skuut
Lilah on her Radio Flyer Classic Tiny Trike
  • Practice climbing
  • Practice throwing and catching
  • Teach your child how to do a front roll
    • Try this on carpet or a mat!!

Activities that lend well to practicing gross-motor skills:

  • Riding bikes or scooters
  • Playing hopscotch
Here’s a variation of hopscotch we’ve played before.  I used sidewalk chalk to make a square for each letter in the child’s name and then a big box at the end to write their whole name.  Then we practiced hopping on each letter and saying it out loud and then saying the whole name at the end.  “L” hop “I” hop “L” hop “A” hop “H” hop “Lilah!”
  • Bounce houses
Bounce House fun!
  • Dancing to music
    • Freeze dance songs are great!
    • L&L also love songs that tell them to move like certain animals
  • Sports: baseball, T-ball, soccer, basketball, football, golf, etc.
    • You don’t have to be on official team, just practice parts of different sports in your house, backyard, or at the park.
    • L&L love running the bases at the baseball field at a local park.
  • Playground play
    • Swinging, climbing, sliding, etc.
  • Movement games
    • like Simon Says, Tag, Mother May I?, Red Light Green Light
  • Dance or gymnastics/tumbling classes
  • Playing outside
    • One of Luke’s absolute favorite things to do is run around the yard and “mow” with his lawn mower!
  • Swimming at the pool
    • L&L will go into the deeper water and “practice” swimming with Puddle Jumpers.  They really wouldn’t even try before we got these.  We tried several different kinds of floatation devices, and not using floatation devices, but in our experience, these are the hands-down favorites!
L&L modeling their Puddle Jumpers after they arrived from Amazon!

What ways do your children practice their gross motor skills?

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Genny Upton

A former teacher turned stay at home mom to two preschool aged children. Creator (and writer) at In Lieu of Preschool and Parent Teach Play. Currently publishing my first children's picture book!