7 Fun Ways to Build Gross Motor Skills

When young kids have weak gross motor skills, it can get in the way of having fun. Running, jumping and throwing all require using large muscles. Help build gross motor skills with these eight activities.

1) Play pretend.
A key to developing gross motor skills is understanding what the body can do. Fire up your child’s imagination and movement through pretend games. Have him waddle like a duck, fly like an airplane or hop like a rabbit. Or let him pretend to be something, and you can guess what he is.

2) Jump around with hopscotch.
Hopping and jumping can be challenging for kids with gross motor issues. These activities require strong muscles, balance, and coordination. Give your child practice through a game of hopscotch. You can alternate the hopscotch pattern so he hones his sense of balance by hopping on two legs, then one. When it’s cold or wet outside, set up an indoor hopscotch game with colored tape.

3) Break out the bubbles (or balloons).
Have your child chase the bubbles and try to pop as many as possible. Or blow up small balloons and ask him to keep them afloat by bouncing them with his open palm. Either game will help your child get to practice hand-eye coordination as well as gross motor skills.

4) Roll down a hill.
This one might spark memories of when you were a kid, too. Take your child to a gently sloping hill and practice rolling down. Body rolling can help him become aware of the relationship between his upper and lower body.

5) Swing on the playground.
Swinging on a swing set helps your child develop balance. It also requires him to coordinate shifting weight and moving his legs back and forth. Other ways to develop gross motor skills on the playground include going up and down on a slide, and climbing up equipment.

6) Have a dance party.
Dancing to music helps build your child’s awareness of rhythm. At the same time, it improves his gross motor skills. Songs with lyrics that call for movement, such as “I’m a Little Teapot” or “The Hokey Pokey,” are also great games to get his body moving in coordinated ways.

7) Set up an indoor obstacle course.
Obstacle courses are a fun way to get your child moving, while giving him goals to accomplish. Use furniture, pillows, and blankets to create areas he’ll need to crawl on, under and through. Try to set up obstacles that will challenge your child to balance, crawl, jump and run.

I hope you find these activities fun!

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