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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Large motor skills in the preschool classroom

Getting large motor skills moving in the classroom is a very important aspect of developmental growth. Especially in the winter time, when children spend less time outdoors, you need to make sure you are investing time in planning activities that promote various types of large motor skills.

What kind of large motor activities are there?

  • Circle games 
    • Ring-around-the-rosie or duck-duck-goose are two examples of simple activities that get children moving, running, jumping, sitting, and standing.

  • Relay races can be simple and fun and they really do not need to be a race as much as an activity that encourages different kinds of moving. 
    • Roll the ball relay - the teacher rolls the ball to the first child in line, the child picks up the ball and runs it back across the room to the teacher then sit's down behind the teacher. Now the next child in line goes.
    • Pushing and pulling relays - the child crawls/runs/hops/walks across the floor pushing or pulling an object across the room and back again
    • Relay races don't have to make sense, just get children moving from one place to the next

  • Action songs and rhymes
    • There are many wonderful CD's out there that get children dancing and moving like songs from Greg and Steve or Hap Palmer's "Sammy" song. 
    • If you don't have a CD - then make up action songs that get your students to stretch, bend, twist, march, and jump.
    • Try action songs like musical chairs, the limbo, and the Conga.

  •  Organized Sports
    • Yes, preschoolers can play a simple game of basket ball, kickball, bowling, and dodge ball too. Change up the rules a bit, use soft bats and balls, take the basics of the sport and modify it to the age group you are teaching.

  • Equipment
    • Hula hoops, tape on the floor, balloons, balls, push toys/cars, laundry baskets, parachutes (blankets), balancing beams, and jump ropes are all examples for simple tools that can lead to wonderful indoor large motor activities 

  • Free Play 
    • And of course, free play should always be encouraged but don't rely on that alone. Take a few minutes of everyday and offer up something new - then let the children enjoy some unstructured time in large motor play.
There are many children who are involved in organized sports but for those who are not, the only time they may spend on specific large motor development and skills is while in your care.

Make sure you are assessing the skills of your preschoolers. Can they make a circle, take turns, cheer for their friends, and follow simple rules or instructions of a game or a song? Do your preschoolers stretch, hop, run, march, jump, and bend daily? Your role is to make sure they do...

See the Hokey Pokey in action!
Check out who's up and movin!

More activities to build those large motor skills!


Sherri said...

Just today I was doing preschool with my kids and I thought I really need to work on Large Motor Skils...
Thanks for the reminder and some good ideas...
My little one has GREAT fine motor skills...but he struggles with Large motor. We are a super active family...but he just needs extra!
By the way I love your profile picture..when you comment on my blog, I can't help but SMILE!
Smiles are contagious!

Our Little Family said...

Deborah, I just wanted you to know how very, very much I love your blog. You are such a wealth of information and I always get excited to come over and "visit." I taught elementary school but I've always had a special place in my heart for preschoolers. EVERY time I read your blog, I must say that I am SO inspired and yearn to teach the little ones! Maybe when my Maddie is a little older... :)

Thank you for all your ideas and dedication!

Teacher Tom said...

I like to keep our large motor activities non-competitive mainly because it's de-motivating for some kids if they wind up on the losing side too often.

One of our favorites is balloon volleyball. I put a strip of snow fencing up between a couple of posts and we hit the balloon back and forth.

Last week's obstacle course was also a big hit. You mention the importance of children cheering for each other. We started by going through the course one at a time -- the cheering was deafening!

Deborah (Teach Preschool) said...

I am the same way - I keep all large motor activities in preschool non-competitive - even the relay races. And cheering is a must:)

I forgot about adding an obstacle course and I love balloon volleyball idea too!

Nikki Belshe said...

"Sammy" is my favorite gross motor song to sing with children. What a great suggestion!

Deborah (Teach Preschool) said...

I have been singing that song for years - it is one of my favorites too! I can see great minds think alike:)

Ayn Colsh said...

We love Sammy. "Animal Action" parts 1 AND 2 are particular favorites with my guys this week.
Teacher Tom, I'd forgotten about balloon volleyball---can't wait to try it again next week!

Jackie said...

These are great ideas for a cold winter day like we are having today. Thanks for all of your great info and ideas!

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