Stuck Inside? Try These Gross Motor Games!

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There are two things you can be sure of in Miami: your cafecito will be strong, and your afternoons will be rainy and hot. When your little ones are stuck inside, try these indoor gross motor games to get their wiggles out! 

Image: A boy sitting with a book in his lap (Stuck Inside? Try These Gross Motor Games! Brittany Aquart Contributor Miami Mom Collective)
A boy sits against a wall, staring at an open book with a bored look on his face.

Laundry Basket Soccer

Empty out your laundry baskets (we both know you weren’t going to fold it anyway), and you have instant soccer goals! Kids as young as 2 years old will have fun trying to kick a ball into the basket. Challenge your older kids by rolling the ball to them or having siblings try to block each other’s goals. Turn plastic cups upside down as “cones” to dribble the ball around on their way to the basket. You can even have your child play goalie and block shots made by Mom or Dad. Just make sure you move any breakable items out of the way!

mage: A boy kicking a soccer ball into a laundry basket (Stuck Inside? Try These Gross Motor Games! Brittany Aquart Contributor Miami Mom Collective)
Laundry Basket Soccer: a boy kicks a soccer ball into a laundry basket turned on its side.

 Animal Walk Runway

Grab a handful of little animal toys (you can also print out pictures, or write animal names for kids who can read), and toss them in a bag. Have your child pull one animal out and strut down your hallway the way that animal would. They can make the animal’s sound and “walk” the way that animal would. For kids who really want to get in character, have them “dress up” as the animal and put on an animal fashion show. Some of my favorite animal walks that build whole-body coordination and strength are bear walking, crab walking, frog jumping, and gorilla stomps. 

The Floor is Lava

This classic game is so versatile! Have your kids rearrange the sofa cushions, throw pillows, blankets, chairs, anything you don’t mind them playing with. They can create a path leading up to a fort (or castle). Let their imaginations run wild as they try to walk, jump or climb across the path to safety. Lifting, pushing, and pulling large objects (otherwise known as “heavy work”) is a great way to build your child’s body awareness, develop strength, and regulate their nervous systems. For an added challenge, have them carry puzzle pieces from one side to the other to complete the puzzle. You can also use game dice to determine the number of “spaces” they can move on the way to the castle. It’s a real-life board game!

Image: A boy stands on a large cushion on the floor (Stuck Inside? Try These Gross Motor Games! Brittany Aquart Contributor Miami Mom Collective)
The Floor is Lava: a boy stands with his arms overhead, victorious. He is on top of a large cushion on the floor. Behind him is a play fort built out of pillows and cushions on top of a bed. On the floor around him are playmats and pillows creating a path to the fort.

Entertaining your kids indoors doesn’t have to be all screen-time. There are plenty of indoor games to keep your kids busy. Create a safe space for active play in your house. This gives kids an outlet for their energy and cuts down on boredom (which is often a cause of disruptive behavior). Does this mean you have to constantly entertain them and wear yourself out? No way! Get them started on one of these gross motor games, lay out some ground rules, and usually, they will carry on while you have a chance to sit on the couch and sip your much-needed, thrice-microwaved (probably ice-cold again) coffee. 

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Brittany is a pediatric physical therapist and owner of Lemon City Therapy. She has worked as a physical therapist in a variety of settings, from the NICU to outpatient clinics to in-home therapy. She and her high school sweetheart-turned-husband, Andrew, are both Miami natives and proud UM alumni. They currently live in Little Haiti with their two young boys. Brittany loves all things culture, art, music, and food-related, and is always down for a good cup of coffee. Pre-pandemic days, there was nothing she loved more than going to a new restaurant with good friends, but backyard hangs are a satisfying trade-off. At home, you can catch her experimenting with gluten-free recipes in the kitchen, or taking a walk to the park down the street with her boys. Connect with Brittany @lemoncitytherapy on Instagram and Facebook.

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