As a mum of two who enjoys a good TV show, I’ve seen firsthand the importance of balancing screen time with active play. Movement activities are not just a great way to get our kids moving; they’re crucial for their overall development.
Below are some of the activities we enjoy at home, particularly during those chilly winter days when outdoor activities aren’t an option. I’ve also introduced these games in community groups with young children, and they’ve been a big hit!
Creative Movement Activities for Kids
- Play some fun music.
- Ask the children to imitate different animals’ movements around the room (e.g., hop like a frog, slither like a snake).
- This activity boosts gross motor skills, mimicking different animals improves cognitive skills, and it’s a fun way to learn about animals.
Materials: Music player.
- Play fun music and let the kids dance.
- Randomly pause the music. When the music stops, everyone freezes.
- This game is a classic that enhances body awareness and helps develop listening skills.
- Give each child a balloon.
- Challenge them to keep the balloon in the air using different body parts.
- This activity is great for developing hand-eye coordination and is a fun way to promote physical activity.
Materials: A light source and music.
- Dim the lights and shine a flashlight to create shadows on the wall.
- Let the kids dance and watch their shadows mimic their movements.
- This activity encourages creative expression and is a fun game for all ages.
Materials: Ribbons or strips of fabric.
- Give each child a ribbon.
- Put on classical music and let them twirl and dance with the ribbons.
- This activity promotes fine motor skills and is an easy way to incorporate movement and music.
Materials: Yoga mats (optional).
- Lead the children through a story, prompting them to perform different yoga poses.
- For instance, “walk through the forest” could be a tree pose.
- This activity is great for mindfulness and physical development.
Fun Movement Games
- One person is ‘Simon’ and gives commands (e.g., “Simon says touch your toes”).
- If Simon says “Simon says” before the command, everyone must follow. If not, they should stay still.
- This classic game is great for developing listening skills and body awareness.
Laundry Basket Skee Ball
Materials: Laundry baskets, balls or rolled-up socks.
- Set up laundry baskets at varying distances.
- Let kids try to toss the balls or socks into the baskets.
- This game enhances hand-eye coordination and is a great way to incorporate play into daily chores.
Materials: Chairs and music player.
- Arrange chairs in a circle, one less than the number of children.
- Play music and let the kids walk around the chairs.
- When the music stops, everyone must find a chair. The one without a chair is out.
- This game is excellent for social skills and quick decision-making.
Movement Activities for Preschoolers
Materials: Cushions, chairs, tunnels.
- Create a simple indoor obstacle course.
- Let preschool children navigate through it.
- This is a great movement activity for physical and cognitive development.
Beach Ball Balance
Materials: Beach balls.
- Give each child a beach ball.
- Challenge them to balance it on different body parts as they walk around.
- This activity is perfect for developing balance and coordination in young kids.
Materials: Music player.
- Play songs with specific actions (like “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes”).
- Encourage the kids to follow along.
- This activity is an easy way to combine music and movement, enhancing literacy and motor skills.
Movement Activities for Elementary Students
Materials: List of items to find.
- Create a list of items for the kids to find around the house or classroom.
- This activity is great for problem-solving and encourages physical activity.
Jump Rope Challenges
Materials: Jump ropes.
- Set up different jump rope challenges (like jumping on one foot).
- This promotes physical fitness and coordination.
Materials: Tape or a narrow plank.
- Lay down a line of tape or set up a plank.
- Have students walk across, practicing their balance.
- This is a great way to develop coordination and focus.
Simple movement activities
Paper Plate Skating
Materials Needed: Paper plates, music player.
- Each child gets two paper plates to use as “skates.”
- Play some lively music in the living room or any indoor space.
- Children glide around on the floor, pretending to ice skate, using the paper plates under their feet.
- This activity is excellent for gross motor activities, balance, and coordination. It’s a great idea for a rainy day or for movement breaks during the school day, and it requires no extra cost.
Materials Needed: Chalk (for outdoor play) or tape (for indoors), paper with numbers.
- Create a hopscotch grid using chalk or tape.
- Label each square with a number or a simple math problem.
- Children hop from square to square, solving the math problems as they go.
- This activity combines physical activity with math skills, promoting both cognitive and physical development. It’s much fun and offers a creative way to incorporate learning into movement, making it an excellent lesson plan idea for preschool teachers.
Toilet Paper Roll Toss
Materials Needed: Toilet paper rolls, baskets or bins, tape to mark throwing lines.
- Set up baskets or bins at varying distances and use tape to mark where children should stand.
- Children try to toss toilet paper rolls into the bins.
- This simple movement activity helps develop hand-eye coordination and is a great way to incorporate play into movement exercises. It’s perfect for both younger and older kids and can be a fun part of a music lesson, using rhythm to time the tosses.
Movement activities for middle school
Materials Needed: Soft balls or bean bags.
- Students stand in a circle.
- Start with one ball or bean bag. The first student throws it to someone else in the circle, remembering who they threw it to.
- Gradually add more balls or bean bags into the sequence.
- This activity develops hand-eye coordination, quick thinking, and is a fun way to foster social skills and team building. It’s a great activity for movement breaks during a school day.
Materials Needed: Bingo cards with fitness activities instead of numbers, markers.
- Create bingo cards with different fitness activities in each square (e.g., 10 jumping jacks, 5 push-ups, 30-second plank).
- Call out the activities or have students pick them randomly.
- Students complete the activity and mark off their bingo card.
- The first to complete a row wins.
- This activity is a fun way to incorporate different movements and exercises into a game format, encouraging regular movement and promoting physical fitness.
Materials Needed: Music player, space for dancing.
- Split students into small groups.
- Each group is tasked with creating a short dance or movement routine to a piece of music.
- They can incorporate elements from different dance styles or come up with creative movements on their own.
- After practicing, each group performs their routine for the others.
- This activity is excellent for creative expression, physical activity, and building teamwork. It also helps in developing communication skills and boosts confidence.
These activities are more than just a great time; they play a vital role in child development.
From enhancing gross and fine motor skills to boosting brain breaks and social-emotional development, movement activities are a key component of early childhood education.
If none of the activities above work for your kids then check out some apps that help kids be active. Let’s get moving!
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