It’s the new year already! Your kiddos have probably been cooped up long enough. Let’s get them engaged in activities, learning, and moving! Remember that every activity can include learning. For instance, as a child shoots the basketball you can count how many times they shoot, or how many times they bounce the ball. With block building it could be shapes, design, comparison, creativity, planning, or teamwork. While explaining an obstacle course, we talk about over, under, through, around, climbing, crawling, or walking. Include as much vocabulary as you can in each activity. Gross-motor play can include gross-motor development with learning, it doesn’t have to be one or the other. So many options are available to you. There are some fantastic equipment options to get your students moving.
One of my favorites gross-motor activities is the Deluxe 5 Hoop Basketball Goal from Play with a Purpose. It’s a favorite no matter the size or age of the child. The height of each basket adjusts with just a pull of a button. With the past hurricane scare, we discovered we could easily rotate all the baskets in and rolled it right in the door, so it didn’t blow away. I can just see this being used in a basement or an active classroom area during snow seasons. It is versatile, fun, and suited to all ages and sizes. This is a fantastic piece of equipment!
A simple activity, yet it can be overlooked if children avoid it. In my experience, children have avoided it because it was hard to hop on one foot, or the coordination to know how to hop on one foot and then on two feet. With a little bit of encouragement and assistance, children can be successful at this activity and it can be a fun game for all. We typically don’t play with place markers. We just have fun (practice) hopping on one foot or two feet, one on each square. For younger children I like to make a caterpillar, using different colors for circles with numbers on them to say something like “you hopped on the pink circle, now you hopped on the blue circle”. Typically, the older preschoolers always come join in the fast-paced hopping on the circles also, which is why I put numbers in the middle of the circles so they can count as they jump.
Big Block Building
You might think that block building isn’t a gross-motor skill, but it depends on the size and weight of the blocks. You will want to make sure that you have plenty of space for this activity for when they fall. My favorite space for BIG block building is outside. Nature blocks are round and more of a challenge to build with than typical unit blocks. They lend to more creative building. The child creating the building below said it was a “fairy house”. To change up the block building a bit, and because our outside block table just broke, we brought in a very large tree cookie, and sanded it to be our new block table at a height that everyone can participate, no matter how young or old.
Scooters are fun for just about anyone. Simple games are often the best. Simply draw a line and have two runways for racing. One option for play is two children competing for who can be the fastest at pulling the scooter down and back while on their stomach. Another option would be sitting on their bottom and using just their feet to pull themselves along, it is sure to be entertaining for everyone. Then, when the children have all raced, have two teachers race, or have the children take turns pushing the teacher down and back. This is a great rainy-day activity when you need to expend some energy. This is also fantastic for those kiddos that need extra push and pull input. Can’t you just see taking a break for a little racing and then coming back to focus on school work?
Try a few of these activities! If you have some of your own use them as well or check out 10 Outdoor Activities for more inspiration! Just get up and get learning, moving, and active! Whether you are in sunshine or snow, its always a beautiful day to go outside! There is no bad weather, just bad clothes choices. That’s why we keep some spare jackets here.