Tag Archives: gross motor

Beach Ball Obstacle Course - directions for preschoolers, plus variations for older kids {undergodsmightyhand.com}

Beach Ball Obstacle Course

We recently completed a beach/ocean preschool unit. While we can’t often visit a beach, we can play with a beach ball anywhere and in a variety of ways!

In the coming weeks, I’ll share a post with numerous ways to use a beach ball in active games and learning activities.

Today, I’ll show you the Beach Ball Obstacle Course we played.

Beach Ball Obstacle Course - directions for preschoolers, plus variations for older kids {undergodsmightyhand.com}

Obstacle Course Setup

I’m a fan of using whatever we’ve got in the house rather than always buying more. My main goals for this obstacle course were:

  • to have my preschoolers follow varied and sequenced directions.
  • to practice multiple directional words (over, in between, around).
  • to practice coordination and gross motor skills through using various body parts to move the beach ball.

Knowing these goals, I picked a few objects around the house conducive to creating such a course.

Beach Ball Obstacle Course setup {undergodsmightyhand.com}

We set up two baseball bats to create parallel lines to move the ball in between, a fabric Frisbee to roll the ball over, and a tower of blocks to roll the ball around.

I set up the course with about 3 feet in between each object. You can place a starting line on your floor with painter’s tape or another object.

Preschool Beach Ball Obstacle Course

Standing at the starting line with the ball, I first asked my kids to roll the ball in between the bats, over the Frisbee, and around the tower, then come back over the Frisbee and in between the bats. I did not give any other directions. This allowed them to decide how they wanted to roll the ball.

After we each had a turn, I asked them to move the ball with their knees. (I demonstrated this one first.) More variations of movements: use only fingertips, use elbows, use chin, tap with the tops of feet, etc.

Beach Ball Obstacle Course {undergodsmightyhand.com}

Other variations:

  • For older kids (around kindergarten and up), you can give directions to move to the right or to the left of an object. Also try to incorporate under and through.
  • You can limit the amount of touches on the ball. (Example: Roll the ball around the tower with only four touches.)
  • You can alter your child’s foot movement (hop, lunge, tiptoe, etc.).
  • You can lengthen the obstacle course to include 5 or more obstacles.
  • You can write letters on the ball and ask your child to only touch the vowelsor consonants, etc. Or you can write numbers on the ball and ask your child to only touch even numbers or odd numbers or multiples of 3, etc.

This game is such a simple one to set up, fun to play, and incorporates vocabulary, awareness, movement control, gross motor practice, and taking turns.

How does your family play with a beach ball?

This post is also linked up with Homeschool Creation’s Preschool and Kindergarten CornerTuesday TotsToddler and Preschool Moms Pinning Party, the Weekly Kids Co-opShow and Share SaturdayFree Homeschool Deals’ Ultimate Pinterest Party, and Link & Learn.

The Weekly Kids Co-Op

I Can Teach My Child's Show and Share Saturday link-up

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5 indoor tunnel play activities for preschool and early elementary ages {undergodsmightyhand.com}

5 Indoor Tunnel Play Activities for Preschoolers

A couple of years ago, my kids were given an indoor play tent that included a tunnel. We’ve used the tent a couple of times (and it’s fun!), but we store it out of the kids’ reach most of the time. The tunnel is detachable, though, and we keep it available for the kids to use anytime.

And, they love it.

They’ve been content to just get the tunnel out, take turns crawling through, giggle at teach other, and cackle at Momma lying in it.

Today, I decided to incorporate some new activities to add something new to their tunnel play.

These activities are great for preschool and early elementary ages. They challenge preschoolers to move in various ways, coordinating different muscle groups, taking turns, adding a bit of challenge, and evoking problem-solving skills.

5 indoor tunnel play activities for preschool and early elementary ages {undergodsmightyhand.com}

Indoor Tunnel Play

Beyond regular crawling in the tunnel on hands and knees, we played five other indoor tunnel activities today:

  1. Belly crawl. It’s just like it sounds. Instead of crawling through the tunnel on hands and knees, crawl through on your belly! (Kind of an “army crawl” style.) I honestly wasn’t sure my kids would be able to do this yet, and they rocked it!
  2. Object carry. I placed an object (usually a stuffed animal) in the middle of the tunnel (see above photo). The kids could choose however they wanted to crawl through the tunnel, but then had to pick up the toy with one hand and crawl out with it. It was fun watching them problem solve to figure out the best way to move forward with the toy in one hand.
  3. Tunnel Ball Roll. The kids sat on opposite ends of the tunnel with a ball. They took turns rolling the ball through the tunnel to each other. Such a simple activity, but they had to adjust how hard they rolled the ball and which angle to toss. Plus, they loved giggling at each other during this one. (Cue sappy momma heart melting.)
  4. Backwards crawl. So, I originally intended this backwards crawl through the tunnel to be in a sitting position. But, when I went to demonstrate it for the kids, I definitely could not sit up inside that tunnel. It was more of a half-laying, half-sitting position. (I received a couple of “silly Momma” comments during this.) Well, the kids took off with this. They loved it! And it definitely inspired some creative movement. This one is my daughter’s favorite. 

    5 indoor tunnel play activities for preschool and early elementary ages {undergodsmightyhand.com}

    Excuse the photobomb from the tag there on the left.

  5. Tunnel stand. This is really just for fun and not a whole lot to do with movement. My son loves to get in the tunnel, pull it up around him, and let it pop up and cover him. He then plays “peek-a-boo” inside it. Insert more cackles and giggles here.
    5 indoor tunnel play activities for preschool and early elementary ages {undergodsmightyhand.com}

My daughter has already played these activities twice more on her own, so it looks like they’re keepers!

Do you have an indoor tunnel? What games do you like to play?

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8 ways to show love to your library and librarians at LibraryAdventure.comDoes your family love to visit your local library? Ever want to show them your appreciation? I’m also at The Library Adventure today sharing 8 ways to love on your library (and librarians), including a few tips for kids with special needs to get involved. I surveyed a few librarians, used my past experiences as a teacher, and included some of our family’s experiences to compile this list.

Come share your favorite ways to love on your library at The Library Adventure!

This post is also linked up with Homeschool Creation’s Preschool and Kindergarten CornerTuesday TotsToddler and Preschool Moms Pinning Party, the Weekly Kids Co-opShow and Share SaturdayFree Homeschool Deals’ Ultimate Pinterest Party, and Link & Learn.

The Weekly Kids Co-Op

I Can Teach My Child's Show and Share Saturday link-up