During the winter months it can be a challenge to help children burn off all of that extra energy. When children aren’t able to get their energy out in appropriate ways, it can lead to misbehavior, through no fault of their own. There are some easy ways to create fun, indoor activities that provide gross motor opportunities.
Create an Obstacle Course
Children love a challenge, especially when it involves using every day household items in any way other than which they are intended! Use pillows, couch cushions, chairs, tables, and any other items you have handy to create an obstacle course that can be used again and again. Children can jump from pillow to pillow, climb over chairs, crawl under tables or through tunnels, and move around objects. The best part is that you can rearrange the same items to make new courses! Just be sure that all courses are safe and age appropriate to avoid those unwanted accidents.
Build a Fort
Indoor activities at its best, get children involved in the creation of a fort! Couch cushions can be used to build walls, blankets can be draped over tables, and flashlights can be used for light. Children can use their creativity and imaginations to build amazing forts and then act out pretend play. Building along with climbing in and out of these forts will help children to burn some of that pent up energy and have fun all at once.
Freeze Dancing and Yoga
Children love to dance and move their bodies. Freeze dance is a great way to get children active and increase their listening skills at the same time. As long as the music is playing, the children should be dancing around. When the music stops, everyone freezes! While you can do this with any music you like, you can also ask, “Alexa, play freeze dance songs for kids,” and she will do a lot of the work for you.
Yoga is a wonderful way to help children move their bodies while also learning to breath and focus. If screen time is an option for your child, Cosmic Kids Yoga on Youtube with Jaime is an engaging and a kid friendly opportunity for children to learn some of the basics of yoga in an age appropriate way. If screen time is out, try a deck of Yoga Pretzels cards! For more children yoga poses try these.
Gross Motor Tools For Indoor Activities
Use the holidays to gift some of these great gross motor toys to assist in creating indoor activities. Here are a few of my favorite gross motor tools that lend a hand in keeping children active indoors during those chillier Winter months.
- Pikler Triangle Set – Great for climbing up, over, under and through! This set allows children to work both upper and lower gross muscles.
- The Nugget Couch – This couch can be used in so many ways! Building forts, slides, and climbing are just a few of the ways that children can utilize their Nugget. Take a look at their website and Instagram for more great ideas!
- Riverstones – Children can practice balance and coordination while following the path of different sized steps. Moving from one step to the next at varying distances can strengthen gross motor skills.
- Mini Trampoline – Jump, jump, jump! What better way to burn off energy and get the blood flowing then bouncing on a trampoline? Make it even more fun by combining your trampoline with a Nugget Couch and allow children to jump from the trampoline onto the cushions! You can also count how many times you can jump, sing your abcs while jumping, or jump to the beat of a favorite song.
- Obstacle Course Set – Add to your home made obstacle course with these great pieces!
- Balancing Stilts – Here’s another great one for balance and coordination. Children can walk all over the house with these stilts!
- Tunnel with Ball Pit – This is perfect for younger children, especially those just crawling or walking (although certainly loved by preschoolers as well!).
Regardless of how you choose to create gross motor indoor activities, children will benefit from the movement. The long Winter months might just seem a little more bearable with busy, engaged children! To learn more ways to educationally engage children, take our online class: Caring For Young Children – Early Childhood Milestones.
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About The Author
Sarah Proctor has worked with young children for over 25 years as a teacher, childcare director, nanny, and mom of two girls. She has her Bachelors Degree in Early Childhood Education and Administration from UMass Amherst. In addition, Sarah has her Director 2 certification from the Department of Early Education and Care.