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Today's Child

Back to Today's Child                                                                                                                      updated3/3/00

Gross Motor

large muscle, active, inactive, 
outdoor, indoor,
daily living activities

What is involved?

Movement Skills

  • body awareness
  • movement awareness
  • spatial awareness 
  • predicting
  • timing
  • reacting to directions
  • problem solving
  • assessing and adapting
  • muscle-memory 
  • coordination
  • control
  • motor-recall
  • judgments


  • walking
  • running
  • skipping
  • jumping
  • hopping
  • galloping
  • chasing
  • fleeing
  • dodging
  • climbing
  • crawling


  • throwing
  • catching
  • collecting
  • kicking
  • rolling
  • punting
  • dribbling
  • volleying
  • striking
  • squeezing
  • pushing


  • bending
  • stretching
  • twisting
  • turning
  • rolling
  • balancing
  • transferring
  • curling
  • landing
  • flexing
  • hanging

Active Play

"Kids... I wish I had their energy!"

We say it, but take a look at children today and you may see that they are not as active as they should be! 

Leading active (outdoor) activities ensures children are getting their twenty minute workout each day.  

Active play builds good physical habits and fitness levels, but it also develops their understanding and control of their bodies, as listed above.

The active play also provides basic awareness skills around physics and science --judging distance, speed, power.

Take the physical and add an academic component and the whole-child is benefiting! 

The challenges and exploration of outdoor play also build self-esteem.
Trials, accomplishments, and enduring frustration and disappointment  enhance confidence and the ability to take risks.  

Most gross motor activities also involve other participants.  By engaging in group activities, children learn about important social rules: how to compromise, how to work as a team, how to be assertive, how to deal with different personality styles, etc. And by becoming efficient at these skills, children's self-confidence grows and then, again, their self-esteem.

Also, by providing them with the basic skills of the group activities we open up the opportunity to be part of the team -- "yes I can play baseball, or soccer".  

Experience, experience, experience! Provide children with a variety of experiences, to enhance all areas of their development: from physical, to intellectual, to social, to artistic.


Providing opportunities to develop skills and potential improves a child's self-esteem and self-confidence.


Don't judge a book by its cover!  And yet we consistently judge children by what they can do!
Are we giving them the tools and skills needed to feel successful?
Are we helping them increase their potential, their ability, their confidence?


Needing Some Music ?

Check out Chapters!

Sites Full of Activities Some Things To Do
  • demonstrate proper way to use equipment
  • ask kids to brainstorm activities
  • large space is conducive to freedom of artistic expression
  • solve math problems to determine repetitions required
  • travel across Canada (one lap equals 100 miles)
Some More Activities
Not in My Backyard
  • Have kids create paper balls....increase the learning by asking them to make them 3" in diameter!  How do you do that? 
  • form groups of 3 (by colour of hair) then groups of 2 (birthday). You now have partners but without hurt feelings
  • partners stand on opposite sides of a line (real or imaginary) and take 6 steps backwards (you now have 2 teams)
  • on "go" they throw their paper balls into the other team's 'backyard'; picking them up off their side and returning them quickly to the other side.
  • on "RECYCLE" kids count how many are on each side. 
  • Enhance the learning by challenging them to get the same amount of paper balls on each side. Use 'guess-timating',  and math formulas to determine equal number
  • teams must then work together to solve the challenge.
Oscar the Grouch 
  • find a large box to use as the garbage can
  • select someone to be 'Oscar' and have them sit inside the box
  • kids use their paper balls (or rolled up mittens) as 'garbage' to put in the box.
  • as they throw it IN the box, 'Oscar' throws it back out again
  • again, challenge them to put as many INSIDE the box as outside... how do you determine the number needed inside? How do you work together to make it happen? 
Where's My Habitat
  • discuss animals and their habitats
  • describe the individual habitats -- creating a list of words along one side of chart paper for each habitat
  • have children create a picture or poster depicting the habitat along side the word list
  • laminate the posters if possible
  • outside, mount the posters around the play area
  • as children move in a specific way (hop, run, walk) around a certain area of the play area, call out an animal and a new movement (ex. Giraffes, gallop in zigzag direction) and have them move to their habitat
  • note that some animals live in more than one habitat .. have children state their reasons for choosing the habitat that they did

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copyright, 1999: Debbie Roswell