Fun Gross Motor Activities For
Toddlers - Try Them All!
Gross motor activities for toddlers are so very important! Please give them
as many opportunities to move, jump, bounce, reach, throw, kick, climb, roll
etc. as possible every day!
They NEED to move.
They NEED to develop the large muscles in their little bodies.
They NEED variety to make this happen!
General info on gross motor activities
Most toddlers are just learning how to walk and run and need the
experience. Go for lots of walks including walking on various surfaces;
grass, gravel, sand, anything uneven will challenge their balance and
help them learn better skills.
Toddlers like to jump. Place pillows, cushions, or a mattress on
At the playground, they can use some swings with safety belts and
Let toddlers practice climbing up and down the stairs with your help.
Get on the floor with the child for floor time. Play peek-a-boo by
crawling around the floor behind furniture. Children love having adults
on their level.
These are some variations to gross motor
activities for toddlers that you already do:
Coloring: Have the children color on a large piece of paper on the floor on
their hands and knees. This helps to strengthen the hips and shoulders
as well as encourage the child to weight shift in quadruped to color.
Hang the paper on the wall (or a
wall easel or kid's floor easel ). On the
floor, by the paper, place pillows, cushions, or mats. Have the
children stand on the soft surface to color. This will help the children
with their balance. This can be done for any table top activity as well.
Place the paper on a stool (or something of similar height) and
have the child on their knees. To color, they will have to raise their
bottom off of their heels/calves. This takes a lot of strength and
stability in the hip muscles.
For older children, you can tape the paper to the wall. Have the
child lie on their backs and lift their legs. Place the crayon between
their toes and encourage them to use their legs and feet to color. This
is a great exercise to strengthen the legs and work on their motor
planning to determine how to succeed in this task.
Try balls with different textures (bumpy, "koosh", squishy etc.)
Balls can be used as early as when the child is beginning to sit.
Propping their arms up higher on a pillows or a box may help them to sit
on their own and encourages their back to be more upright.
Children enjoy rolling the ball back and forth to you when seated on
the floor. This is a great way to challenge their balance in sitting.
Kicking a ball requires the children to shift their weight to one
foot and support themselves like that in order to kick it.
Throwing balls of different sizes and weights requires balance,
coordination, and the use of two hands. When they are able to throw it,
place a block tower in front of them and encourage them to hit the
With a beach ball and paper towel roll tubes you can have the child
on their stomachs and keeping their legs straight. Have them lift their
backs to hit the ball with the tube.
Hanging a ball from the ceiling encourages the children to reach up
and jump to hit the ball in the air.
Building a tower while they are standing so they have to bend down
to pick up the block and raise back up again.
Building up blocks to kick them down.
Lining up blocks and having the children step over them.
With any object, have the child reach up high for the next block
onto their toes.
Using the large blocks, build a tower at the end of a mat. Have the
children roll, crawl, or "duck walk" into the tower to knock it down.
Then that person rebuilds the tower for the next child.
Stepping or marching on the bubbles as they hit the ground. Or, you
can lay down a strip of bubble wrap for them to jump or stomp on, or do
different "animal walks" down the strip.
Reaching up onto toes to pop the bubble.
You can use anything you already own to have the child walk, run, or
Jump ropes... lay them out on the ground and have the child jump over
them or walk between the lines of two of them.
Hula hoops... step into and out of, or jump into and out of.
Cones...have the children walk around them or ride on bikes and
ride on toys around the cones.
Tires... lay the tire on the floor and do sitting bouncing on them
around the whole tire, or step into and out of them.
Stools/Steppers... have the child go up and down the one step.
Be creative! Anything else you can think of, go for it.
Other ideas for gross motor activities
Children love mirrors... place safe mirrors at eye level. When the
child is first learning to push up on their arms when on their stomach,
this is a great way to have children tolerate this position. You can sit
or stand the child in front of a mirror and encourage movement. They can
follow and imitate what you do and you can mimic what they are doing.
Music is a wonderful medium for play. Even young children love to
bounce, sway and wiggle to the music. When they get older, you can make
instruments such as paper plate tambourines, an oatmeal box drum, or
noisemakers from paper towel rolls, or filling up 20 oz. bottles with
various things to make noise (rice, water and confetti, beans, coins etc).
This is a great way to get the children to march with their knees high
for a parade or play "follow the leader".
Place sticky paper on the floor and have the children walk around
"Ring Around The Rosie" is a great way to have the child side step,
lower self to ground and rise again. Or, try the "Chicken Dance".
Gather blankets, pillows, and inner tubes. Place a large blanket
over them and tape it down. Encourage the children to walk, roll, etc.
over the large "mountain".
Shadow Posing... Have the teacher/leader pose into various positions.
The children will copy what you do. Hold it for about 10 seconds
before changing to a new position.
Well, have fun trying all of these gross motor activities for toddlers... they'll love them! And I hope this has inspired you to find your creative side and make up your own versions of gross motor activities for your little ones. Creativity is key! So, go play!
Click Here For EVEN MORE Gross Motor Activity Ideas; " Heavy Work "Activities
Have a child with Down's Syndrome? Here's a great resource
to help develop those critical gross motor skills!
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