Preschool Gross Motor Activities Print E-mail

Children grow and develop through play experiences. Your preschoolers will develop their muscles and have fun with these preschool gross motor activities. Movement impacts the physical development of young children. Early development of large motor skills is important for building a foundation that will lead to skills in sports later. A variety of appropriate activities is critical for this development. It's important to provide children with many experiences to develop large muscle skills.

Move From Hoop to Hoop

You will need several hula hoops in different colors for this activity. Before beginning, have your kids think of ideas for ways they can move from hoop to hoop. These could be hopping, jumping, walking, walking backwards, moving sideways, running or skipping. Let them choose how they will move from one hoop to the next. Prior to using the hoops, have the kids practice these movements on a grassy area outside. Then, let them try with the hoops. 

After they have chosen how to move, play the game again. This time, you give directions on how they are to move. Use a different movement each time to give them a chance to try out a variety of movements. Play music in the background and have them move to the beat. This activity can be done outside on a grassy area. On rainy or cold days, this activity can be done inside, as long as you have enough open space.

We Are Animals

This activity develops gross motor skills and the children have fun pretending to be different animals. Talk about different animals. Ask the children how the animals move. Do they hop, crawl, walk, run or gallop? Line the kids up and give them the name of an animal. Have them move like that animal. Tell them to go to the fence and back like a crab, horse, etc. Try the game with several different animal movements.

This activity can be done inside during bad weather. Have the children move from one wall to the opposite wall and back. When doing this activity inside, you may want to limit it to a few children at a time. Outside, the entire group can participate. If you have limited space inside, stick to slower moving animal movements, such as crawling, hopping or walking.

Balance Beam

The balance beam is an important activity for building gross motor skills. Walking on the balance beam uses both sides of the brain. This strengthens the connections in the areas of the brain later used in learning to read. Before children are able to walk on the balance beam, they must be able to balance while standing still on the floor. Start by having them practice standing on one foot. Then have them alternate sides, first standing on the right foot and then the left.

Before having them walk on the balance beam, start by putting a strip of thick masking tape on the floor. Have them try to walk on the tape. Once they have mastered this, you can bring out the balance beam. This can be done outside in a grassy area or in the classroom. The balance beam inside the room is a great way to exercise when the weather isn't cooperating for outside play.