10 At-Home Motor Activities for Preschoolers

 As a mother of three young boys, I’ve certainly learned the importance of movement and action in a child’s life! Here are 10 activities that will help develop fine and gross motor skills in preschoolers! Most of these can be adapted to be indoor or outdoor activities, so these can be used to get the wiggles out even on rainy days.

Cheerio Necklaces

This is one of the best activities to develop fine-motor skills and patience in young children. Simply cut a length of string or dental floss (preferably something that won’t fray, as you’ll be creating a lot of friction as you string on cheerios) and wrap a piece of tape around the end to make a stiff end. String cheerios on until desired length is reached and tie the ends to make a necklace!

Cardboard Slide

For this activity, all you need is a really large cardboard box and a set of stairs. Cut and tape the box as desired to span the stairwell and tape it to the top of the stairs. Put a pile of pillows or cushions at the bottom, and you have your own indoor slide! My oldest kept exclaiming, “This is the most TERRIFIC day EVER!” as he went down the slide. Even my baby, who was 9 months at the time, enjoyed sliding down and trying to climb up. You can check with any store that sells large appliances (like refrigerators) to see if they have a big box you can have. Most stores collect and discard them.

Puzzle Hunt

This activity works best with puzzle pieces that fit into specific shapes rather than those that interlock. Take a puzzle, hide the pieces around a room, and give your child the board the puzzle pieces belong on. Have them hunt for the puzzle pieces until the puzzle is complete. This is an easy one to adapt for different ages, as you can hide multiple puzzles’ pieces at once and make the hiding places more challenging for older kids.

Popsicle Stick Puzzles

Take a favorite picture or photo and glue tongue depressors all along the back. Brush Mod Podge all over it and let it dry. Cut it apart, and you have a fun, easily-transportable puzzle! (Just store the pieces in a ziploc bag.) Lining up those tongue depressors is a great fine-motor activity, and if you let your child help make the puzzle, it makes a fun craft as well!

Popcorn Races

This is one of the simplest games, but it’s one of the most fun! Just take a piece of popped popcorn and a straw for each participant. Put a masking tape line on the ground to make the starting line and another for the finish line, and let participants race their popcorn pieces to the finish line by blowing through the straw! Got older kids? Try making obstacles for them to blow the popcorn through or make a “popcorn Olympics” by setting up different activities.

Index Card Exercises

I grew up doing this activity, and my kids loved it just as much! On large index cards (or pieces of cardstock cut in half), draw stick figures in various positions. Hold up one card at a time for the kids to copy. We got lots of giggles out of this one!

Hammer Nails into Wood

Using grown-up tools is one of my boys’ favorite things to do. Hammer a few nails partway into a piece of wood and let them hammer the nails the rest of the way down. As long as you don’t mind the loud banging, it’s a great way to occupy their hands for a while and increase their hand-eye coordination!

Balloon Volleyball

Just tape a piece of twine or yarn from one side of the room to the other at whatever height is appropriate for your kids. Give them a balloon, and hit it back and forth through the air across the string with each other. This is a favorite at our house for birthdays!

Obstacle Course

You can use whatever materials you have available for this one. Just set up a series of events for your kids to go through and time them. We had things like jump off the little chair onto the mini-trampoline, jump 5 times, climb up the slide and go down, ride the broom like a horse while kicking the ball to a goal, and then hopping to the finish line. This works great outside but can also be easily adapted to make a great indoor bad-weather activity!

Freeze Dance

For this activity, just play a song with a fast-tempo, and occasionally pause the music. Let your little ones dance and wiggle to their hearts’ content and then freeze when the music is paused. Their goofy “frozen” positions create lots of laughter!

What are your favorite fine motor and gross motor activities for small children?

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