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 for toddlers:

  • 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 the floor.

  • At the playground, they can use some swings with safety belts and low slides.

  • 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:


  • 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.

  • Ball Play:

  • 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 tower.

  • 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.

  • Blocks:

  • 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.

  • Bubbles:

  • 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.

  • Obstacle Courses:

  • You can use anything you already own to have the child walk, run, or ride through.

  • 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 activitiesfor toddlers:


  • 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 on it.

  • "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!

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    Related Resources

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