Gross Motor Games for Learning

Combining gross motor activities with learning is something we strive to do on a regular basis. I’ve written before about our alphabet mat which is obviously a learning activity.
Literacy Practice for Boys from Suzy Homeschooler (5)
There are other gross motor games that can be used for learning, such as a classic game of horse the basketball game, although I generally substitute the word “horse” for whatever our word of the day is, or for LittleMan’s name.
DIY basketball set from Suzy Homeschooler

Most recently we’ve created our own game we call “sight word catch.” It seems like such a simple idea, I’m sure others have come up with similar before me but our version just involves throwing a ball with sight words on it back and forth.
Gross Motor Learning during Sports Week from Suzy Homeschooler (1)
Basically I read a word, throw it to him, he reads a word (or just tells me the letters and I help him figure out what it says if he isn’t sure) then he throws it back and I read another word and I throw it to him and so on and so forth until he gets bored…which usually takes about 20-30 minutes.

We’ve also been taking our math lessons outside with a bowling set.
bowling, gross motor learning from Suzy Homeschooler
Our bowling set has 6 pins. LittleMan rolls the ball at the set, knocks some over, then comes over and says, for example, “6 minus (counts how many pins fell) one-two pins equals (counts how many pins are left standing) one-two-three-four pins….6 minus two equals 4!” I write down the math facts in a little notebook (6-2=4) as he says them aloud, then he checks what I’ve written for accuracy. We call this subtraction bowling. I’m considering making a set of 10 pins so he can work with larger numbers.
If we want to practice addition, we tape numbers onto our bowling pins, like so:
Gross Motor Learning during Sports Week from Suzy Homeschooler (2)
Then LittleMan adds the numbers on all the pins he has knocked over. This is especially challenging when he has knocked over 4 or 5 pins. I have put dots under the numbers on each pin so he can count the dots to check his answer. I also wrote out the name of each number just to help solidify the connection between the number and the written number, something we’ve been working on for a while.

Do you know of any great gross motor games that help promote literacy and basic maths? If so, we’d love for you to tell us about it in the comments. We are always on the lookout for ways to get the kids up and moving during lessons.

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4 Comments to Gross Motor Games for Learning

  1. nbuchan says:

    Excellent post! As a golf coach, developing your kids gross motor skills with games like this will do more than anything to increase their athletic potential.

    • Thanks for commenting! We really are all about athletics in this home. LittleMan has been in soccer classes since he was old enough to kick a ball. At first we started because we wanted them to have a positive outlet for all the energy that they had, kids need to run around outside so they won’t climb the walls inside. But as time went on we realized that sports have a natural way of improving a child’s confidence and self worth. We hope they will choose to be involved in team sports for a great many years.

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