Gross motor development is important for every child, and whether it’s running, jumping, climbing, or kicking, there’s a lot to learn! Help your kids explore and develop their physical skills by providing a few of these simple and inexpensive “toys” that can be found around the house or at your local dollar store.
A simple 2×4 board or other scrap wood makes developing balance a lot of fun! Be sure to remove splinters and sand the board to make it safe for children before use. Children can also hop, step, and climb over a board depending on how it is elevated. A fun way to use it: Walk the Plank at No Time for Flash Cards
2. Hula hoops
An easy find at most dollar stores, a trio of hoops can be used in a variety of games that encourage jumping, crawling, and throwing at a target. A fun way to use it: Hula Hoop Games at Learn~Play~Imagine
3. Masking tape
Masking tape can be used to mark shapes, numbers, letters, lines, and any kind of obstacle course inside your home with little mess. For outdoor fun, chalk can be used in the same way. A fun way to use it: Tape Jump at Hands On As We Grow
4. A ball
Balls are the perfect choice if your child needs variety in his/her gross motor activities. Balls can be thrown, caught, kicked, rolled on, sat upon, bounced, and more. A really large ball adds challenge and excitement. A fun way to use it: Milk Jug Catch at I Am Momma – Hear Me Roar
Balloons have many of the same uses as a ball, but with the added fun of a slow “freefall” period after it has been kicked or punched into the air. Balloons can be great tools to encourage jumping and stretching. A fun way to use it: Balloon Hockey at Creative Connections for Kids
6. Bean bags
Bean bags are the ideal tool for a child practicing targeted throwing. Because they don’t roll, bean bags can also be used to promote balancing skills when placed on heads or open palms and carried across the room. A fun way to use it: Crazy Cans at Two Shades of Pink
Yarn is another multi-purpose item. Create “laser beam” obstacle courses in hallways or among furniture or use long pieces to mark out shapes and lines on the ground for children to follow. A fun way to use it: Stringing at My Kids’ Adventures
8. A cardboard box
Kids crawling into and peeking out of a big box is downright adorable – not to mention a great gross-motor builder! Tumbling, crawling, rolling, and twisting are just a few of the skills a box can promote. Cut holes and windows in a box to add new elements of play. A fun way to use it: Make a Cave at Raising Cajuns
Kayla Lilly is a photographer, writer, wife, and mama making a house a home in eastern Idaho. She met her mister while working at an amusement park and married him a year later after deciding there was no way to live without him. The amusement has continued as they’ve added three kids and a passel of pets to their lives while finishing college and starting a photography business. Drawing inspiration from the whirlwinds of marriage, parenthood, and the media, Kayla blogs at www.utterlyinexperienced.blogspot.com, and spends the rest of her time chasing chickens, organizing junk drawers, diapering toddlers, and photographing everyone willing to step in front of her lens.
Featured image courtesy of No Time for Flash Cards.