Gross motor skills are the big movement skills that most kids will learn by the time they are 2 years old. Fine motor skills focus on the small muscles in the hands, fingers, and wrists to produce accurate hand-to-eye coordination; gross motor skills focus on how a body moves in space. Movements such as sitting, standing, walking, kicking, jumping, running, and lifting are essential skills, especially when a child is ready to go to school. Part of what makes these skills so critical is that kids need to learn how to move with precision and coordination when asked to walk in a line, carry a tray, or participate in group play like freeze tag. 

To help your little one work on mastery of their gross motor skills, you can use lots of activities at home. Here are 10 gross motor skill activities that we think your kids will love.

Jumping Lines Activity for Toddlers

 Toddler in living room jumping over tape lines on the floor.

Image and activity via Little Bins for Little Hands

You can use chalk, string, or even tape to create a series of lines that little kids can use the jump over. Make up silly rules about how to jump, like on one foot or two. Or when to jump, like during a game of Red Light, Green Light. Kids will learn how to stop and go, wait their turn, and practice leaping and jumping skills.  

Flaming Hoops Toddler Activity

Toddler climbing through hula hoops decorated with orange streamers. 

Image and activity via The Inspired Treehouse

Your little circus acrobats will love climbing and tumbling through these DIY flaming hoops. This activity gives kids the opportunity to use their whole bodies to move through a tricky space.  

String Scavenger Hunt Gross Motor Activity

 Toddler tries to get through maze made with string.

Image and activity via Hands on as We Grow

If you have a ball of yarn and some letter magnets or cutouts, try this interesting obstacle course that will have kids using problem-solving skills as they navigate an obstacle course. They will have to stretch, lunge, crawl, and perhaps even climb to collect all the letters hanging from strings.  

Mud Target Practice Toddler Activity

 Chalk target on sidewalk splattered with dirt.

Image and activity via Hands on as We Grow

Throwing with accuracy is a skill that will help set up your kids for success with sports, dance, and other physically engaging activities. While the weather is nice, grab some chalk and create targets on the sidewalk or driveway and then have your kids mix up a gooey batch of mud that they can throw to hit their targets. The winner gets to hose off the mess and then everyone can start over.  

Robot Dance Gross Motor Activity for Toddlers

 Hand holding a popsicle stick with the words "go backward" written on it as two toddlers stand in background.

Image and activity via Sara J Creations

Get the whole family involved with this game that invites kids to try out different kinds of movements. Turn on some music and make it a dance party as you move like a robot, walk in a square shape, hop on one foot, and more.  

Laundry Basket Push Game for Toddlers

Toddler pushes laundry basket filled with toys. 

Image and activity via Growing Hands-On Kids

Lifting and pushing are important skills for little kids to learn, and they can do just that with this pushing activity. Added challenge? Ask your kids to play the laundry push game during pick-up time. Not only will their little muscles get a workout, but they can also feel proud for helping clean up the house.  

Name Hop Game for Toddlers

Toddler hops onto paper plates decorated with different letters. 

Image and activity via Fantastic Fun and Learning 

We love the name hop game because it involves getting those busybodies moving while simultaneously having fun with pre-literacy skills. Little kids can hop around by practicing launching and landing with intent and learn how to spell their names while they are at it. 

Balloon Hop Game Gross Motor Activity

A toddler bats two balloons around his house. 

Image and activity via Lessons Learnt Journal

Balloons are just plain old fun no matter what age you are. But for little kids, trying to keep a balloon in the air by hopping and hitting is an enjoyable exercise to get out wiggles and practice moving through space in a coordinated way. 

Indoor Obstacle Maze for Toddlers

Toddler gets ready to complete an indoor obstacle course made from pillows 

Image via Raising Dragons

Parents can get super creative with this activity. Using what you have on hand from empty cardboard boxes to create tunnels, tape or yarn to create a webbed doorway, and even pillows and cushions to build up ramps and places to jump, you can build an epic obstacle course. Kids will have to use problem-solving skills, jumping, crawling, waiting for turns, and more to get through the wacky course. 

Vertical Bowling with Plastic Cups Gross Motor Activity

 A basketball on the floor near knocked-over plastic cups after a homemade game of bowling.

Image and activity via MomBrite

Vertical bowling with plastic cups is a fantastic game that involves lots of skills that every kid needs. From stacking cups in a balanced manner so they remain erect to rolling a ball in a straight line to know them back down again, kids will keep super busy with all the running and moving around.

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