When thinking about indoor activities for our kids, we often think of puzzles and board games. Sitting still for long periods of time for these games might be boring and difficult for kids. If your children are cooped up inside due to the weather or any other circumstances, then try these gross motor activities to get out their energy!
What Are Activities For Gross Motor Skills?
Gross motor skills lead kids to have better coordination and control of their body parts. When done in pairs or as a group, these activities can also help develop better social-emotional skills and better self-regulation.
Babies start out developing their gross motor skills during tummy time, learning to roll, and preparing their bodies to crawl. Toddlers can engage in big movements that engage all their body parts, such as walking, running, throwing, lifting and kicking to improve motor planning skills and balance. Preschool children can add to that repertoire with riding a bike and swimming, as well as other more complex movements.
Even if you don’t have access to the outdoors for whatever reason, there are plenty of activities you can do inside too!
Indoor Gross Motor Activities
4. Animal Walks
Scuttle sideways like a crab, leap like a frog, gallop like a horse, waddle like a duck and crawl like a bear. Give points for the best imitation and don’t forget to make animal noises while you do it! (This is a great way to motivate kids to get into bed too!)
Gross Motor Activities for Preschoolers
1. Simon Says
Give commands that are achievable to your preschooler such as jumping, spinning or touching their toes. This will promote listening and follow instructions combined with physical activity.
2. Indoor Bowling
Set up a makeshift bowling alley using empty plastic bottles and pool noodles to define the boundaries. A hallway can also provide natural boundaries. Use a soft ball for your toddler to roll and knock down the pins. Count how many you knocked down! You will also enhance hand-eye coordination, balance and gross motor skills.
3. Dance Party!
Turn up the music and bust some moves with your little one. Can they imitate you? Moving to the rhythm improves coordination is just plain fun! Use scarves to add some moves for crossing midline and bilateral coordination.
4. Balloon Volleyball
Divide the room into two sides or use a hallway and a long piece of string or tape to set up a low makeshift net. Practice using both hands to hit the balloon back and forth over the net for improved hand eye coordination and gross motor skills.
5. Balance Boss
Use a piece of tape to mark your line on the floor and see if you can use different moves to balance on the line. Can you walk putting your heel right in front of your opposite toe? Can you walk sideways? How big of a step can you take without losing your balance? This is a great motor planning activity!
Gross Motor Activities For Infants
1. Find the sound
Even before your child is old enough to roll or pick up their head, you can stimulate their neck muscles by shaking a rattle to one side out of their vision and watch them turn their head toward the sound.
2. Rattle tug
Babies have a strong grasp reflex. Let them grasp a rattle and then tug it gently, just hard enough to provide some input. Make it into a fun game with smiles and coos. Even before your child is old enough to roll or pick up their head, you can stimulate their neck muscles by shaking a rattle to one side out of their vision and watch them turn their head toward the sound.
3. Baby bicycle
While your baby is lying on their back, move their legs in an alternating pattern as if they are riding a bicycle. Exaggerating the movement to one side or the other will get them ready for rolling!
4. Tummy time
Place babies on a play mat or other soft surface and move toys in front of them to stimulate them to pick up their head and move it from side to side. When they start reaching for toys they may lose their balance and get startled, but just soothe them and start again!
5. Bolster baby
Use a small bolster or rolled up towel under the tummy to encourage your baby to get up on all fours as a pre-crawling exercise. Rocking back and forth in this position will give them confidence to try it on their own when they are ready.
No matter why you may need to be indoors, your kids won’t feel bored or dysregulated with this repertoire of fun activities. Which of these indoor sensory activities would be most popular in your house? Let us know what you love to do in the comments or tag us @funandfunction on social media!