29 Entertaining Gross Motor Activities To Get Kids Moving

Work those large muscles!

Gross motor activities, including kids playing chalk Twister and a child skating on paper plates in bare feet on the wood floor.

Gross motor activities engage kids’ large muscles. Think the muscles in the arms, legs, and abdomen. This also includes skills like skipping, climbing, throwing, and catching, which involve a lot of coordination and skill. Kids develop gross motor skills as they move, and activities, games, and play can challenge their gross motor skills.

Here are 29 gross motor activities that kids will want to play again and again.

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Simon Says

One person is “Simon.” Simon tells the rest of the kids what to do. The kids only follow the directions when they hear the phrase “Simon says.” If Simon doesn’t say “Simon says” before giving an instruction, everyone should stay still. Simon Says is a way to improve kids’ body awareness, listening, and motor planning. For younger kids, drop the Simon part and just have them imitate your body movements.

Animal Walks

Walk like a bear, a crab, turtle, duck, or any animal you can think of!

Obstacle Courses


Collage of DIY Obstacle Courses for Kids

Use objects you can find around the house—couch cushions, tables, and chairs, along with other equipment (balance beams, mats)—to create an obstacle course for kids to master. Once it’s easy for them to move through, add a timer or relay aspect. You can get some of our favorite things for an obstacle course at Amazon, including stepping stones, a tunnel, and an agility ladder.

Learn more: DIY Obstacle Courses

Chalk Balance Beam

Child walking on squiggly chalk line, as an example of gross motor activities

Draw a line on the ground with chalk and you’ve got an instant balance beam. Then, have your child walk along the beam, jump along the beam, walk heel-to-toe from one side to the other, walk backwards, and (for kids who are older) do cartwheels or walk on their hands. You can also make this more difficult by drawing a squiggly line on the ground to do the same movements.

Learn more: Chalk Games/The Pinterested Parent


Girl playing hopscotch.

The classic hopscotch game helps kids practice hopping and sequencing. Make it more challenging by tossing a rock onto one number at a time and hopping over and around the square that the rock is on. Or give each square a different movement so that kids have to do high knees, spin, or jump on one foot to get through the squares.

Learn more: How To Play Hopscotch/Game On Family

Target Practice

Kid throwing bean bags at targets drawn with chalk, as an example of gross motor activities.

Draw a target on the ground or a wall (with no windows), then have your child throw a ball or beanbag at the target. Keep a tally of the points they earn. If your child isn’t ready for throwing, practice by rolling the ball to the target drawn on the ground.

Learn more: Beanbag Target Practice/Wellesley Community Children’s Center


Girl's playing with ball, s an example of gross motor activities.

A simple game of catch is a great way to practice hand-eye coordination. Kids can catch a ball, balloon, or stuffed animal. Add standing on a pillow or couch cushion to add some stability challenge. Up the challenge even more with a Velcro catch set from Amazon.

Chalk Twister

Kids playing sidewalk chalk Twister outside,s an example of gross motor activities.

Use chalk (or circle cut-outs in four different colors) to create a sidewalk Twister board. Then, call out “hand” or “foot” and a color. Kids have to move their hand or foot to the color you call out. To add complexity, add “right” or “left” directions. Twister encourages kids to balance and stretch.

Learn more: Fun Sidewalk Chalk Ideas/Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom

Paper Plate Skating

Boy skating on floor with paper plates under feet.

Clear a space of hardwood or tile floor, attach paper plates to your kids’ feet, and let them skate around the room!

Learn more: Paper Plate Skating/Hands On As We Grow

Sensory Walking Path

Children walking through sensory bins outside, s an example of gross motor activities.

Add different sensory elements to create a path for walking. You could fill bins with different textures—beans, rice, water. Or create a path using gravel, towels, paving stones, and more.

Learn more: Sensory Walk/Messy Little Monster

Spider Web


Tape up a “spider web” with string in the hallway or a room. Sprinkle pom-poms or cotton balls on the floor for kids to pick up as they crawl over, under, and through the string.

Learn more: String Obstacle Course/Entertain Your Toddler

Pool Noodle Race

With a set of pool noodles and a bunch of kids, have kids run relays with the pool noodles. First, one kid runs with the pool noodle, then they circle back and pick up the second kid. And so on until the pool noodle has four runners.

Alphabet Ball

Boy in backyard playin alphabet ball, s an example of gross motor activities.

Pass a ball back and forth while reciting the alphabet. Or name animals in alphabet order, cities they know, or countries of the world.

Learn more: Alphabet Ball/Hands On As We Grow


Examples of kids playing fun tag games, including octopus tag and blob tag.

Games of tag are a great way to get kids running. You can play the original version—someone is “it” and that person has to tag someone else, who is then “it.” Or play another version, like blob tag (everyone who is tagged has to move together) or shadow tag (where you tag a person’s shadow, not them).

Learn more: Fun Tag Game Variations


Kids need to stretch. Jaime with Cosmic Kids Yoga tells stories in yoga poses that are easy for kids (and adults) to follow.

Freeze Dance

This activity can be done really anywhere, but it’s great for a rainy day. Start by playing music. When the music stops, kids have to freeze in the position they’re in. Add a competitive element by making anyone who is still moving after the music stops “out.” The last person still dancing is the winner.

Egg and Spoon Relay Race

Girls Playing Egg and Spoon Relay game

This one is a classic, and it trains kids’ balance and coordination. Give each kid a wooden spoon and egg (hard-boiled eggs work if you don’t have wooden eggs). The challenge is to move as fast as you can around a cone and back.

Buy it: Egg and Spoon Race Game Set at Amazon

Jump Rope

Jump ropes are a great way to build coordination and get energy out!

Kick the Can

Kids playing kick the can in yard.

In this classic neighborhood game, one person is “it.” A can or bucket is put in an open space—in the middle of a backyard or a field. “It” counts to 20 or higher while the other players run off and hide. Then, “It” guards the can while the others try to kick it over. If “It” tags someone, they are out. Any player who is not out can kick the can.

Learn more: Kick the Can/Imagination Soup

Four Square

Teach your kids this ball-bounce game that’s part strategy, part quick moving.

The Floor Is Lava

Child playing the Floor is Lava.

Put cushions, blankets, chairs, and other obstacles around a living room or outdoor space. Designate a starting and ending space, then kids have to cross the space without touching the lava (the floor).

Learn more: Don’t Touch the Lava/The Many Little Joys

Parachute Games

A parachute, the old favorite from your P.E. days, is a versatile toy that kids can use to play plenty of gross motor activities. Here are just a few:

  • Add stuffies to the middle of a parachute and try not to let the stuffies touch the ground.
  • Have one child sit in the middle and wave the parachute up and down.
  • Lift the parachute up and have one person run underneath it.

Cup Stack

Stack plastic cups in a pyramid, or in multiple pyramids, then roll a ball to knock it/them down. The building and play improves hand-eye coordination. Buy your own Speed Stacks cup set at Amazon if you want to get competitive.

Letter Jump

Girl jumping on chalk letters

Write letters on your driveway or sidewalk with chalk. Then, have kids jump from letter to letter and say the letter or sound aloud. Or tell them a word and have them spell it by jumping from letter to letter.

Learn more: Noisy Letter Jump Phonics/The Imagination Tree

Kick the Cup

Boy playing kick the cup, as an example of gross motor activities.

Write letters on plastic cups. Line the cups up and have your child roll or kick a ball. They have to say the names or sounds of the letters they knock down.

Learn more: Kick the Cup/Fun Learning for Kids

Exercise Dice

Two exercise dice on classroom carpet, as an example of gross motor activities.

Get kids moving in different ways by playing with exercise dice. You can make your own dice and mark each side with an activity:

  • Superman (lay on your stomach and lift your feet and legs into the air)
  • Jumping jacks
  • Arm circles
  • Bear crawls
  • Bunny or kangaroo hop
  • Jumping rope (jump as if you are jumping rope)

You can also buy exercise dice on Amazon to use for gross motor activities.

DIY Skee-Ball

Homemade skee ball game, as an example of gross motor activities.

Make your own version of this fun arcade game with plastic baskets, cardboard boxes, ball pit balls, and markers. With practice, they’ll be ready for the real arcade!

Learn more: Skee-Ball/I Can Teach My Child

Reach for the Stars

Paper stars with actions hanging from ceiling.

Hang or tape items just out of your child’s reach and have them practice standing on tiptoes or jumping up to collect them.

Learn more: Reading Gross Motor Activity/Growing Book by Book

Rainbow Drawing

Child sitting on hand drawn rainbow

This activity encourages kids to cross the midline (an important practice for their brain and body). Have them sit on a large piece of paper. Then, they draw an arc around them until they’ve made a rainbow. (Alternatively, they can drive cars through paint to create car tracks!)

Learn more: Crossing the Midline With Rainbow Drawing/Your Kids OT

What are your favorite gross motor activities? Share on our WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook.

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Gross motor activities get kids moving and help them develop important skills that incorporate their arm and leg muscles.