Is your small group in constant motion? Of course—they are preschoolers! Movement is actually a good thing! Physical activity is so important for these little guys. They are learning to move different muscles that help them dance, jump, kick, throw, and run – in other words, help them be preschoolers.

These movements are developmental milestones known as Gross Motor Skills—the movements of large body muscles. Preschoolers start using their muscles in singular movements and as they become more aware of how their bodies work, they incorporate more muscles into multiple movements for actions like jumping rope.

The first use of gross motor skills are within the very first year of life when they gain control of their head and torso. The next milestones are when they learn to sit, crawl, stand, and walk. By the time they hit two to three years old (and come into your small group) they like to run… a lot! Jumping is big at this age as is throwing and catching a ball.

When kids get closer to four years old, they are still running, a lot. But now they can hop on one foot, peddle and steer a bike, and kick a ball. At five years of age, their movements are more like those of adults. They alternate steps when walking up stairs, run faster, and jump higher. And using these skills as much as possible is what helps kids move toward learning and mastering new combinations of skills. That’s why it’s important to keep your few moving and squirming!

Some activities to help use those Gross Motor Skills are playing with balls—rolling back and forth, kicking and catching. Obstacle courses—using different objects in the room as well as using your imagination in pretend play. Doing fun body movement games like the Hokey Pokey, Freeze Dance, Hopscotch, Duck, Duck, Goose, and Red Rover. Hula Hooping and Jump Roping are great for older kids. Always encourage and let your few try something new. You never know what they can do unless you let them give it a go! Try integrating some of these fun games and activities into your small group time to enhance motor skills and most of all just have fun on their level!

What are some fun activities you have done in group that require large movements?

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