3 Fun & Budget-Friendly Locomotor Skills Activities for Kids
Childhood is a critical time for the development of locomotor skills. However, there are only so many squats and jumping jack reps kids can do before being bored out of their minds!
If you want to not only get kids to move but also instill a genuine enjoyment of sports and set them up for a healthy lifestyle, you need to keep locomotor skills activities fun, creative, and engaging.
Here are three locomotor skills games that tick all the boxes — and require little to no equipment to boot!
Fun Locomotor Skills Activities That Won’t Break the Bank
These fun games encourage kids to practice basic locomotor skills as well as important non-locomotor skill sets such as alertness, body coordination, object control, sense of rhythm, and more:
1. Hula Hoop Road Trip
This is an excellent game for teaching kids to move safely at different speeds and in different directions. It involves a combination of walking, running, hopping, and jumping. It’s also great for practicing body awareness, spatial awareness, object control, following instructions, and keeping a safe distance from others.
Hula hoops or bottomless cardboard boxes.
Each child sits inside a hula hoop or a bottomless cardboard box. Ask them to imagine that the hula hoop/box is their car and the gym, playground, or backyard — whatever the case may be — is a giant road.
Then, have the kids stand up and hold their hula hoop/box around their bodies. Explain that you’ll be calling out the following instructions and what they mean:
Highway: Run as fast as possible.
Bumpy road: Slow down and start hopping or skipping.
Curvy road: Make a turn and change directions.
Red light: Stop and wait.
Stuck in the mud: Run in place.
Turn up the radio: Drop the hoop/box and dance inside of it.
School zone: Walk slowly.
Out of gas: Sit back down in the hoop/box.
If you’re feeling extra creative, you can think of more things to call out. Better still, invite the kids to come up with their own ideas to stimulate their imagination.
2. The Marching Game
In addition to improving basic locomotor skills, this game helps develop a sense of rhythm, alertness, and communal thinking. It’s also a form of sensory play.
Scissors, duct tape, and paper. A speaker or a louder phone to play the music.
Cut a few different shapes out of paper — squares, circles, stars, triangles, etc. — and stick them on the floor using duct tape to mark the marching path.
Each shape represents a physical activity the kids must complete before resuming marching. Try to think of exercises that engage as many locomotor skills as possible: jogging in place, jumping, hopping. Throw in some feel-good stretches too!
Next, choose an uplifting song that’s easy to march along with, and put it on. Lead the way to show the kids what each shape on the floor means.
The game ends when the music stops.
PRO TIP 1: Marching paths are a type of sensory pathways, so consider using different-colored paper for maximum sensory stimulation.
3. Frogs and Lily Pads
This game focuses on leaping, an often-ignored but essential locomotor movement. It also encourages children to be more aware of their body weight as they move through space.
Hula hoops (yes, we love games with hula hoops around here!), spray chalk, or regular chalk.
Place several hula hoops or draw similar-sized chalk circles on the ground. They must be positioned close enough for kids to safely jump between hoops but far enough to make the activity challenging. You need at least five more hoops than the number of players.
Have each kid (“frog”) stand inside a hoop (“lily pad”). Show them how to perform a two-foot jump using their arms to propel forward and land with bent knees.
The goal is to jump into as many lily pads as possible without stepping onto the playing space (“the pond”). There can only be one person inside a hoop at any one time.
Give the kids 30 or 60 seconds and count how many hoops they can jump into. The player who lands on the highest number of lily pads wins.
Need More Ideas for Locomotor Skills Activities?
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