10 Fun and Engaging Gross Motor Activities for Toddlers

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Written By Olivia Miller

Author at Montessori Expert.

Do you ever watch your child and marvel at their boundless energy? Their constant movement is more than just burning off steam; it’s crucial for their development.

Gross motor skills, which involve the large muscles used for movement, are the foundation for everything from walking and running to coordination and balance.

By nurturing these skills early on, you’re setting your child up for a lifetime of physical confidence and exploration.

Preschoolers have boundless energy and a natural urge to move. These 10 gross motor activities are easy to set up at home or outdoors and keep your little mover burning off steam while developing important physical skills.

Activity 1: Obstacle Course Challenge

obstacle course challenge activity
obstacle course challenge activity

Age Group: 3-5 years old

Materials: Pillows, blankets, couch cushions (safe, sturdy objects)

How to Perform: Create a safe obstacle course using pillows, blankets, and couch cushions (be sure to remove anything sharp or breakable). Show your child how to climb over, crawl under, and weave around the objects. This activity strengthens gross motor skills, balance, and coordination.

Area of Development: Gross motor skills, Balance, Coordination

Activity 2: Animal Walks

Age Group: 3-5 years old

Materials: None needed!

How to Perform: Get active and silly with some animal walks! Pretend to waddle like a duck, hop like a bunny, or tiptoe like a cat. Encourage your child to use their imagination and come up with their own animal walks. This activity strengthens gross motor skills, coordination, and creativity.

Area of Development: Gross motor skills, Coordination, Creativity

Activity 3: Dancing Fun

dancing freeze activity

Age Group: 3-5 years old

Materials: Music (any kind!)

How to Perform: Turn on some music and let loose! Dance around the room, jump, spin, and wiggle. You can follow along to a favorite song or make up your own dance moves. This activity strengthens gross motor skills, coordination, and rhythm.

Area of Development: Gross motor skills, Coordination, Rhythm

Activity 4: Simon Says

Age Group: 3-5 years old

Materials: None needed!

How to Perform: Play a classic game of Simon Says! Take turns being the leader and giving instructions like “Simon Says jump three times” or “Simon Says touch your toes.” This activity strengthens gross motor skills, following directions, and listening skills.

Area of Development: Gross motor skills, Following directions, Listening skills

Activity 5: Balloon Bop

Age Group: 3-5 years old

Materials: Balloons (inflated)

How to Perform: Blow up some balloons and have a friendly game of balloon bop! Hit the balloons gently with your hands or try to keep them from touching the ground using only your body. This activity strengthens gross motor skills, reflexes, and hand-eye coordination.

Area of Development: Gross motor skills, Reflexes, Hand-eye coordination

Activity 6: Laundry Basket Races

Age Group: 3-5 years old

Materials: Laundry baskets (one per child)

How to Perform: Grab some laundry baskets and head outside for some races! Have your child sit in the laundry basket and hold onto the handles. An adult can help them scoot or push themselves forward using their feet in a fun race. This activity strengthens gross motor skills, leg muscles, and balance.

Area of Development: Gross motor skills, Leg muscles, Balance

Activity 7: Beanbag Toss

beanbag toss activity
beanbag toss activity

Age Group: 3-5 years old

Materials: Beanbags (homemade or store-bought), bucket or box

How to Perform: Fill a bucket or box to create a target. Give your child some beanbags and show them how to toss them towards the target. You can adjust the distance to make it more challenging as they improve. This activity strengthens gross motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and arm strength.

Area of Development: Gross motor skills, Hand-eye coordination, Arm strength

Activity 8: Tunnel Time

build a fort activity

Age Group: 3-5 years old

Materials: Tunnel (play tunnel or blanket fort)

How to Perform: Tunnels provide endless fun for preschoolers! Crawl through, scoot on your belly, or walk on your hands and knees. You can even create a tunnel using blankets and chairs at home. This activity strengthens gross motor skills, coordination, and spatial awareness.

Area of Development: Gross motor skills, Coordination, Spatial awareness

Activity 9: Follow the Leader

Age Group: 3-5 years old

Materials: None needed!

How to Perform: Get active with a game of Follow the Leader! Take turns being the leader and performing actions like jumping, hopping, skipping, or walking backwards. This activity strengthens gross motor skills, following directions, and listening skills.

Area of Development: Gross motor skills, Following directions, Listening skills

Activity 10: Freeze Dance

dancing freeze activity
dancing freeze activity

Age Group: 3-5 years old

Materials: Music (any kind!)

How to Perform: Put on some music and have a blast with Freeze Dance! Dance around the room until the music stops, then everyone must freeze in place. This activity strengthens gross motor skills, coordination, and self-control.

Area of Development: Gross motor skills, Coordination, Self-control

gross motor activity image use for pinterest

Conclusion

The good news is that fostering gross motor development can be a fun and engaging experience for both you and your child. So, ditch the screens and embrace the joy of movement!

With a sprinkle of creativity and these activities as a guide, you can turn everyday moments into opportunities for growth and discovery.

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