Today was a glorious day to be outside, so I took my three little ones to the park after Kindergarten. We met up with a friend of mine and enjoyed the fall sunshine. While we were there, I thought it would be a good idea to work on the gross motor skills in my Preschooler and Kindergartner. We competed in a friendly gross motor pentathlon for preschoolers.
The nice thing about this gross motor pentathlon course was that we only needed the equipment at the park and a ball. I don’t usually have extra hands to carry around other equipment, so activities that are already set up are fantastic.
The pentathlon consisted of five activities to help increase coordination, balance, and eye/hand coordination.
The first activity was “Walk the Plank”
The children were told to walk along an in ground cement retaining wall, with their hands outstretched for balance. The cement wall was the same height as the grass, so there was no danger of falling. But it can be tricky for little feet to walk on a four inch wide strip of cement. A few of my “pirates” stepped off into the grass. But that’s okay, that’s why we were practicing our balance.
The next activity was “Hop like a Frog”
This was a simple u-shaped course around a horseshoe pit that the children were told to hop, frog like, around. This Mom is out of shape because she could only hop up one side of the horseshoe pit. The kids, on the other hand, did a lot better and were ready for the next event. Hopping is a skill that helps preschoolers develop balance and body coordination.
The next event was “Climb like a Spider”
In this event, the children got to climb up a climbing wall and then go down a slide. We had the kids repeat this process a few times. They seemed to truly enjoy climbing up and then sliding down. Climbing is another gross motor activity that helps increase body coordination and sliding is just fun!
The fourth event was “Swing like a Monkey”
This time the children were asked to complete the Monkey bar course. Some children required Mom’s support as they went around. While we were going around and around, we had started acting like monkeys and making monkey sounds. This activity helps children develop their upper body strength as well as body and hand/eye coordination.
Our final event was “Starfish Catch”
The children were instructed to stand in a circle about three feet away from each other. Then I stood in the center. I would name a child’s name, throw the ball (an underhanded throw) to that child, and then have the child throw it back to me. We made a star pattern with the tosses and catches. Throwing and catching are gross motor skills that are difficult to master and may take some practice to develop.
Although this was a pentathlon, I didn’t give out any ribbons. We were just competing for our individual best in these skills. Gross motor skills take time to develop, and children need help with these skills as much as fine motor skills. This was just a fun way to focus on these skills, and enjoy a great day at the park.