We all know how important it is for our kids to play outside, but unpredictable winter weather can make that a little challenging. During these long months of indoor recess, it can be hard to think of new gross motor ideas to keep kids engaged and moving.
I thought it would be helpful to share a few winter themed gross motor ideas today. This post is inspired by my PT friend Mary Kay who always comes up with the most creative (and adorable!) gross motor activities for our students that target a variety of skills. The other great thing? All of these activities use materials you likely already have, or can create quickly for free or very cheap!
Silly Snowman Bowling
What you need: empty Pringles cans, laminated snowmen, a ball, polyspot or tape.
How to play: Line up the 6 snowmen into a triangle formation. Place a polyspot where the child should stand. Have the child push the ball to knock down the pins.
Adaptations to try: Have the child bowl in different positions: tall kneeling or half kneeling position, kick the ball, or push the ball backwards through legs. Use colored tape on the ground to give a visual cue of where to push the ball like a real bowling alley. You could also try using a large wedge to have the child push the ball down the wedge (this functions like a ramp would at a real bowling alley).
Half Kneel Position
Tall Kneel Position
Snowflakes and Scooters
What you need: laminated snowflakes, a scooter.
How to play: Scatter the snowflakes around and have the child either lay on her stomach or sit on her bottom to propel herself on the scooter to pick them all up.
Adaptations to try: Add letters, numbers or vocabulary to the snowflakes and have the child follow specific directions related to that – for example, the child could pick up all the snowflakes with the letter ‘A’ on them. Have the child start at one end of the gym, scooter to pick up one snowflake,and bring it back to the designated starting spot. this encourages more movement and direction following.
What you need: yarn balls, cones.
How to play: Set up the cones to form a barrier. Scatter the yarn balls around, and have the children pick them up and toss them across the barrier.
Adaptations to try: You can play this with teams more like a snowball fight, or just have kids come and toss the snowballs over the cones at varying distances. This activity is great for hand eye coordination, overhand throwing, leg strengthening when squatting to pick up the balls, and endurance. Instead of using yarn balls, you can also work on fine motor strengthening by having students crumple up pieces of paper to create their own ‘snowballs’.
Have fun this winter!
This blog is for informational purposes only. Please contact your occupational therapist for specific recommendations. Please supervise children appropriately.