Indoor Gross Motor Activities

indoor gross motor activities for kids

Warm weather is already tapering off , rain has been pounding down in many areas but kids still need to move, burn off energy and have fun doing it!  Over the years we’ve gathered many gross motor activities for preschoolers and all of these can be done rain or shine in your home.

The Easy Balance Beam shown above is as simple as can be but offers a million possibilities . We’ve been pirates, played Simon Says on the beam, even played statue while standing on one leg.

This Musical Hearts Game is a wonderful and fun way to incorporate listening, reading and shapes into a gross motor activity.  We played this often last winter and can’t wait to include my daughter in on the fun now that she is running and jumping too.

What could be more fun than knocking down your brother or sister and not getting in trouble? This Family Bowling Game lets your kids have fun knocking down custom made bowling pins while they work on gross motor skills and coordination .

Combine color matching with a classic bean bag toss with our Color Toss activity. Encourage your kids to toss the bags from further and further away as they master it.

Like the musical hearts game this simple activity turns physical tasks like jumping jacks , crab walk and high kicks into a game. The Batman get up is purely optional.

Block Basket Ball has been revived at our house with my toddler. My son loved popping these blocks into the garbage bin and now my daughter likes to play it with bean bags and a basket. Seriously simple, but they gobble it up!

Family Bowling

paper towel roll bowling

Have fun burning off energy and learning about physics with this simple and earth friendly bowling game. We have had a cooler than normal summer in the Pacific North West , unfortunately my kids don’t have lower than average energy . Sometimes getting out of the house isn’t an option but you can still have fun and burn some energy without trashing your house . I love making things with family pictures but you could easily number the pins, label them with shapes or letters too.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some paper towel rolls ( toilet paper will work but don’t topple over as easily. I highly suggest paper towel rolls), pictures of your family printed out on regular printer paper, tape, scissors and a ball.
  2. Print out pictures of your family.  You will want pictures that are vertical .
  3. Tape and roll.
  4. And tape again.
  5. Make as many or as few as you want. We didn’t play by real bowling rules , instead we just tried to knock as many down as possible.
  6. Then we set the pins up in a different formation to see if that would help knock more down . In all we tried 4 different set ups, I was just looking to have fun and play and we ended up with a physics lesson! See learning through play people!!
  7. After we were done my daughter enjoyed talking to the pins while I cooked dinner.  So it was a win with both kids. Perfect!

Books About Family

Snuggle Puppy by Sandra Boynton. This author is a preschool parents dream, short and easy to read melodic books with illustrations to die for. The story is simply a little love song about all the ways the dog loves the puppy, simple and touching. As an educator something I love is that the dogs don’t have an obvious race , they don’t even have an obvious gender which is perfect. Regardless of who loves who in your family your child can see you in the dog and themselves in the puppy! I think that is the perfect valentine! My son didn’t warm up to this book right away, but now not only does he love it he is very very specific that only I can read it to him . It’s become a big favorite in our house.

Sometimes It’s Grandmas and Grandpas: Not Mommies and Daddies by Gayle Byrne is a wonderful book about grandparents who are raising their grand daughter.  There is no long drawn out explanation about where her parents are, or what led to her grandparents having custody and I don’t think there needs to be. They are her parents, love her, snuggle her, read with her and love her just like any parents.  She does wonder about her parents and shows signs of feeling different but the security and love her grandparents provide overcome those insecurities. The author’s note at the back of the book explains that she herself is raising her grandchild and offers more resources for grandparents who are primary caregivers as well.

Jazz Baby by Lisa Wheeler had my son clapping and be bopping in his jammies before bed. This book is so fun to read, the musical words are impossible not to dance to. My son loves jazz, and his only disappointment was that there were no trumpets in the book. He didn’t understand that the family in the book , which included grandparents, aunts , uncles and cousins were listening to a record. I tried to tell him it was like a cd but the illustration was clearly a record player and he wasn’t buying it. Still we loved this book , the family was loving and I loved that the older brother was holding the baby, not common in kids books to see a boy holding a baby. Great book even without a trumpet.

Angry Birds Inspired Water Balloon Game

angry birds gross motor game Blast those darn piggies with water balloon Angry Birds! Inspired by the mega popular video game Angry Birds this takes the game outside into the sun for fun all summer long.
Earlier this year we featured a post by contributing writer Kim about playing Real Life Angry Birds. Well because of that post I finally downloaded the game and have been not so shamefully in love with the game ever since.  When the sun finally came out I knew we needed to adapt Kim’s post into something for outside in the sun. So of course we needed to include water balloons and a little art too!  To say we had fun would be the understatement of the century- this was incredibly awesome.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some water balloons, a permanent marker ( optional) and some washable sidewalk chalk . The washable chalk obviously comes off when hit with a few balloons so it’s great for this activity. You may also want a bag or bowl to rest your balloons in so that they aren’t on the pavement where they may pop.
  2. Start by filling your balloons.
  3. Carefully add angry faces with the permanent marker.
  4. Draw your pigs ( if you aren’t familiar with the game these piggies are your targets). I did the green, he did (some) blue!
  5. Get ready to smash those pigs! This can also be a lesson in sizes .
  6. Aim!
  7. Get those bad pigs!
  8. Keep blasting .  Between balloons I would pretend to tweet a whistle and announce ” Clean Up Crew – Time Out!” then quickly retrieve all the pieces of each water balloon. Please be sure to dispose of them carefully, and keep them out of your children’s reach as deflated balloons are unsafe for kids. We used neon balloons so the bright colors would be easy to spot.
  9. We kept going back to make more “birds”.
  10. At the end of the game I had my son be the final cleaning crew looking for balloon pieces.

Rainy Day Physical Activity

We live outside Seattle and even for us this spring has been rainy. This activity is a perfect example of simple being wonderful. As soon as I told my son about my idea he was eager to start, so this wasn’t our most polished project, but trust me we had a ball. I don’t know about the kids in your house but in ours we need to work up a sweat inside or out to ensure a smooth bedtime and great sleep. So rain or shine we need to move our bodies!

  1. Gather your materials – all you need are some card stock ( index cards would be awesome) , a marker, and scissors if you need to cut the card stock.
  2. Write out different actions, exercises, and physical feats twice.
  3. Cut and make two piles.
  4. To play you need two players ( I played as well- trust me you don’t need to see me do karate kicks in my Pjs…not a pretty sight). Each player gets a pile.  The premise is simple both players put their pile of cards face down,  count out loud to 3 and flip .
  5. Then do the action on the card.
  6. Keep flipping and moving!
  7. Exercise will make you strong!

Book

Like all the books this week this one Strong Stickfiggy is one of the ebooks available on the  free MeMeTales’ Mobile Reader App . We read it on my iPod , under the covers pretending it was the Batcave ( do not tell me that shocks you…).  You don’t have to read it in a Batcave or even at home , you can read it anywhere which is my favorite part of this app.

Strong Stickfiggy
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Strong Stickfiggy

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Add Your Activity

Do you have a game, sport or dancing activity that gets your kids moving? Add your link here :

Best Of 2010

#7

Musical Hearts – Movement Game

As you can see if you click over to the original post,  this video tutorial got quite a few comments but it also got kids moving which in the middle of winter is not always easy. My son loved it and the hearts are still in the drawer of our coffee table ready to play almost a year later. This game can be played anywhere rain or shine, so there is no excuse for kids not getting their whole bodies moving!

What is your favorite way to get your kids moving when they are stuck inside?