Daily exercise is important for kids and affects child development, behavior, focus, and learning. The Department of Health and Human Services states that children should have at least one hour of moderate to intense physical activity per day.
For sensory seeking kids, or children who are hyperactive, they should get even more physical activity.
Exercise For Kids: Animal Themed Gross Motor Game for Indoor Play
One of the best ways to encourage exercise for kids is with activities involving gross motor play. Ideally, this involves playing outside. However, sometimes it’s not so easy to get out of the house. If either rainy or cold weather is keeping you cooped up inside the house, you may see your kids start acting up.
Also, on indoor days at school, children will find it more difficult to focus on school work. For some children with either ADHD or autism, this can make it incredibly difficult to manage the full school day.
Benefits of Exercise for Kids
Exercise benefits childhood development in many ways. It’s equally as important for the brain as it is for the body. Some benefits of exercise for kids include:
Gross Motor Skill Development
Gross motor movements are movements that involve the large muscles of the body, such as the core, arms and legs, and back. These skills are important for many everyday functions, for example, walking, riding a bike, throwing and catching a ball, and even sitting.
Building Blocks of Gross Motor Skills
According to KidSense, there are 12 building blocks to well-developed gross motor skills, these are:
Animal Themed Gross Motor Game
I created this animal-themed gross motor game because I wanted to make a fun way that kids could get exercise, especially on days they can’t get outdoors. I also wanted to make sure that the game helped with the development of all 12 building blocks for gross motor skill development.
Plus, there’s very little preparation required to play the game. All you have to do is print the cards and cut them out, and you will need to cut out the template for the dice, then fold and glue or tape it into a cube. Use this game as a quick solution to taming antsy children, or as a planned movement break.
The printable includes one template for creating the dice to play, as well as 16 animal-movement based activity cards.
How To Play The Game
Follow the instructions below for both setting up and playing the game with your kids.
Animal Gross Motor Game
- Print and Prepare the printable
rintout the full document which is available to download: here
Then, cut out all of the cards and place them face down in a pile. Cut out the cube too and fold along the lines. Either us tape or glue on the tabs to put it together. Now, you’re ready to play.
- Roll the dice
Players will take turns rolling the dice. Whichever number the player lands on will be the number of reps, or the number of seconds, that the player will do the gross motor movement. For example, landing on 30 could mean 30
repsor 30 seconds of the activity.
- Draw a card
Then, draw a card from the pile and flip it over to find out which activity you will be doing.
- Do the animal movement
Now you will perform your animal movement for the time/reps specified by the dice. For example, if you rolled a 25, and the butterfly stretch card, you will do the butterfly stretch for 25 seconds. If you rolled a 10, and pulled the starfish jump card, you will do 10 starfish jumps.
- Place your card at the bottom of the pile
When you’re finished, place your card face down at the bottom of the card pile so that everyone playing can take turns drawing cards for as long as they like.
More Fun Exercises For Kids
Fun Exercise Activities for Kids
Check out the following blog posts for even more great exercise activities for kids.
7 Minute HIIT Workout for Kids
This 7 minute HIIT workout for kids is a great way to get an intense dose of sensory input in a short amount of time.
Kids Yoga Poses
These 6 quick and easy yoga poses are a great way to encourage children to stretch and relax. Stretching also provides proprioceptive input.
The Vestibular System - 27 Vestibular Input Activities
Find tons of vestibular input ideas here for fun sensory play.
Proprioceptive Input - Daily Activities To Calm Sensory Seekers
30 proprioceptive input activities for kids.
Robot Dance - A Little Gross Motor Fun
Robot dancing! Such a fun gross motor activity ... it will get your kids dancing and also practice following directions!
No Prep Gross Motor Indoor Apple Picking Activity | HOAWG
This is such a unique idea and set up is super easy so this is something you can easily do anytime you are stuck inside.
Ball Theme Alphabet Activity: Kick the Cup
This gross motor activity also helps children learn the alphabet! It;s a great way to get moving and learning at the same time.
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