I am so relieved that lovely weather is arriving so my preschoolers can move their gross motor activities outside. The snow was fun in November and December, but come January (not to mention February, and March) I was over it.
We managed to find some fun indoor gross motor activities to get us through the coldest of the winter days, but now we can take those activities where they really belong – Outdoors!
I was thinking of some of my favourite outdoor gross motor activities for preschoolers and realized a lot of them have one thing in common. Something that is a staple in parks, and in most backyards too.
Slides are fun for kids to use as they are meant to be used – great for balance too. But there are so many other ways to use a slide.
A slide makes a great climbing wall.
Slides are fun to climb up, and great for developing lots of muscles and balancing skills too. We add a rope to the top of our slide (and the bottom for safety – ropes and climbing kids makes me nervous). This adds in a challenge and makes it more like a rock wall.
A water slide.
Pop a sprinkler over the slide on a hot summer day for some speedy, slippery, crazy quick sliding fun. Depending on the slide, you might even be able to put a little pool at the bottom. Try this one out carefully of course, sometimes kids will REALLY zoom down a wet slide.
More ideas to Beat the Heat can be found here.
A slide makes a great ramp.
Rolling balls, toy cars, and sticks down the slide is a great way to playfully explore science and math concepts. My boys take turns being the roller and the catcher – the catcher has the tricky job of trying to throw or roll the ball or toy back up the slide. Watch this one though … once my preschooler saw his toy car zoom down the slide it wasn’t long before he tried to get his tricycle to the top of the slide.
An art easel.
Pop some really big paper down on the slide and let little ones create really big artwork. They will strengthen arm muscles by reaching and stretching with paint brushes, and it will also stretch their creativity. Try adding in some rolling painted balls for a whole new art experience.
More ideas for ‘Big Art’ can be found here.
There are so many ideas for using slides for outdoor gross motor fun! Who needs expensive equipment? A trip to the park, or to most backyards, and your little ones have all they need to develop those big muscles.
Not to mention burn off that energy (though I do always mention that … it is very, very important in our home!)