Gross motor activities are so important for preschoolers because they support balance, movement in space and other functional movements required for everyday life and fitness.
In this gross motor activity for preschoolers at home, we are going to focus on using the gross motor movement of throwing to help us practice recognizing the letters of the alphabet. At the bottom of my post, you will also see other ways you can use the exact same activity. This throwing activity is one my Kindergarten students have enjoyed year after year. I hope your little ones enjoy it, too!
Gross Motor Activity for Preschoolers at Home
You will need:
- 1 or 2 White shower curtain liners
- Black permanent marker
- Snowballs or balled up socks
- Small container
- Each letter of the alphabet
I found some all-white curtain liners at a dollar store and wrote the letters in random order on one of the liners using a black permanent marker. By writing the uppercase and lowercase letters together, your child has yet another opportunity to see there is more than one way to write a letter. Each opportunity your child receives to see the letters together is supporting further learning.
Next, I put the letters in the container and hung the curtain liner. We have used this activity both inside and outside, and it works well in both.
The next step is to hang the liner on your fence or somewhere in the house, like an empty wall.
Finally, choose a throwing object. When we play outside, we use snowballs, water balloons, or balls, depending on the time of year.
How to Play this Gross Motor Activity
Have your child pick a letter from the container. Next, they need to find the letter on the curtain liner. Finally, throw their object at it. Little ones will need to be quite close to the target. Chances are, they may not hit the letter, but that is okay. It is fun to try, and they are still practicing letter recognition and throwing. The point is all about matching their letter with the one on the curtain liner.
Here is a perfect time to also support their growth mindset. Praise the effort, and if they do hit the letter, ask how they feel about it. This way, you are inadvertently telling them their effort is good even if they didn’t succeed in their goal, YET. You are also modeling that sometimes it takes practice and perseverance to reach a goal. Furthermore, your child is learning how success of reaching a goal FEELS inside. They are learning that intrinsic motivation. Continue the activity by pulling more letters, finding them, and throwing at them.
Variations of Preschool Gross Motor Activity
This gross motor activity for preschoolers at home can be adjusted in many ways to support your child’s development and your learning goals for your child. Here are some fun ideas.
- For really little ones, you may want to lay the curtain liner on the ground or floor. This way gravity can help your sweetie have a greater possibility of hitting their target.
- If your child is just starting with learning letters or sounds, put only the first few letters you are teaching them on the curtain and in the container. This will make it easier to find the letters. As you learn new letters, add them to the curtain.
- Write your child’s name in permanent marker on the back of the liner. Next, write the letters in proper order above and the letters in random spots below.
- Write numbers in random order on a liner to practice number recognition and put numbers inside the container.
- Using the number liner, have your child roll dice, count the dots and throw at that number.
- Using numbers 1-5 only, roll one di, count the dots, throw that many snowballs at that number. For example, if your child rolls a three, they will throw three snowballs at the three.
- For preschoolers learning their letter sounds, they can pull the letter, make its sound, and throw the snowball at it.
- If you have preschoolers or Kindergarten/Grade 1 children who are ready for a bigger challenge with letter sounds, place objects in the container. Have your child say the name of the object and its initial sound, then throw the snowball at the letter which makes that sound. For example, if they pull a leaf, they will say, “/l/” and throw at the Ll.
- If you are doing the activity inside, your child can throw rolled up socks or crumpled pieces of paper.
- If you are unable to get your hands on a shower curtain liner, you can play the game inside using sticky notes with a letter on each one. Stick them on the wall.
My goal is that through the use of one or two curtain liners, you can develop a large variety of learning activities for your child. The added bonus is that these activities that also encourage the gross motor skill of throwing. Even my eight and six year old sons enjoy this activity using sight words or addition and subtraction facts. I hope you and your child enjoy these suggestions for gross motor activities for preschoolers at home.
Have fun! Play hard! Learn well! Develop Skills! Grow mindsets!
Belinda is a mama to two little boys and an experienced Kindergarten teacher. She has a love of using nature and technology to enhance and motivate children’s learning. She values the use and training of growth mindset at home with her family and while teaching. Follow along with her on Pinterest.
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