mum and daughter playing with soccer ball

Let’s Get Moving! 5 Outdoor Gross Motor Activities

Gross motor skills are crucial to your child’s development. They enable them to move around, interact with their surroundings, and engage in many different types of play. 

They also support a range of important educational and social activities and significantly contribute to school readiness.

Most everyday activities engage your child’s gross motor skills, so they should naturally develop over time. But what if you want to help develop them sooner?

Well, as with most things, practice makes perfect and there are plenty of ways to get your kids up and moving. Here are 5 fun outdoor gross motor activities to try with your preschool-aged child.

What are gross motor skills?

Gross motor skills are the ability to control movements that engage the larger muscle groups in the torso, arms, and legs. 

This includes whole-body movements, like walking and jumping, as well as actions that require coordination, like catching or kicking a ball. It also covers the ability to stabilise the body, like when sitting upright or balancing on one leg.

Why are gross motor skills important?

Because of the vast range of movements and actions they enable, gross motor skills are crucial to performing many daily functions. They allow kids to move around, climb in and out of vehicles, and get in and out of bed. They also play an important role in many important self-care activities, like getting dressed, using the toilet, and even eating.

Most importantly for kids, many types of play require at least some level of gross motor skills. This could be the advanced skills required to play most sports or the simple upper body support required for seated activities like writing and drawing.

5 Fun outdoor activities to try with your preschooler

Preschoolers are the perfect age to start getting out of the house and having fun outdoors. Outdoor activities are also ideal for gross motor skill development because there is space to run, jump, and play.

What’s more, outdoor environments tend to have more complex features that can be used to help develop balance and coordination. Even simple activities, like walking on uneven surfaces can help kids build their gross motor skills.

So with that in mind, here are 5 outdoor gross motor activities that will be fun and beneficial for your child.

1. Homemade hopscotch

As the name suggests, hopscotch involves a lot of hopping and jumping about. It’s also a great way for kids to practice balance and coordination, and can be adapted to suit different skill levels. Best of all, you can do it almost anywhere – all you need is a paved area and some washable chalk.

2. Tag

Much like hopscotch, there are many different variations of tag, some of which may be too advanced for little ones!

However, you can still teach them the basics and come up with your own way to play that suits their attention span and abilities.

Whatever version you try, this classic game is a great way to get kids running around and practising their balance, coordination, and turning skills.

3. Bursting bubbles

There’s a reason blowing, chasing, and bursting bubbles is such a popular activity with kids – it’s great fun! 

It also requires a lot of coordination and control to synchronise their movements with the flight of the bubbles. Add in catching or popping them, and you’ve got a great way to exercise both their gross and fine motor skills.

4. Ball games

Whether they are rolling it, throwing it, kicking it, or catching it – a ball is one of the best tools for helping develop gross motor skills! 

Keep it simple to start with, allowing them to master the basic movements, balance, and coordination required when playing with a ball. Then, as their skills improve, increase the difficulty by introducing targets to hit or tracks to follow.

5. Walk the line

While the developmental benefits of this one are obvious, it doesn’t make it any less fun! 

To make it easier, start by drawing a chalk line on the ground that they keep one (or both!) feet on as they walk along. As their balance develops, increase the difficulty by getting them to try walking heel-to-toe, sideways, or backwards.

Looking for a childcare centre that will nurture all elements of your child’s development?

At Little Miracles, we understand how important outdoor play is to the development of gross motor skills. That’s why we include outdoor gross motor activities, like those suggested above, in our regular activities for preschoolers.

Our main priority is to find fun, engaging ways to keep kids learning and growing– both mentally and physically.

For more information, or to discuss enrolling your child at one of our centres, contact us today!