Winter time large motor play for the preschool classroom

In the winter time, we have a lot of requests for indoor games and large motor activities.  While we try to get outdoors, even for a small amount of time each and everyday, Midwest winters can be frigid forcing our time outside to be limited.  For that reason, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite ways to get kids up and moving in the classroom…

Winter time large motor play by Teach Preschool

Large motor activities should be a vital part of any early childhood program.  Large motor play helps children burn off excess energy, enabling them to focus better in the classroom.  There are also opportunities for building social skills when children work and play cooperatively in games.  When children play large group games together, they are working on taking turns and sharing with one another.  They are also working on developing friendships…

Winter time large motor play by Teach Preschool

One thing you should know before I begin is that we have very limited space in our classroom.  We do not have a gym or separate room even, in which we can play.  Though we may be limited on space, creativity abounds and we try to make the very most of what space we do have.  Keep in mind that even in a small space you can still plan large motor activities that target the following skills:  balance, walking on a line, skipping, hopping or alternating on one foot, and jumping.  In larger spaces, children may be able to work on running, climbing, and throwing balls…

Using feet to push the ball on the line

One of the easiest ways to get children moving is through music!  Songs like “Bluebird, bluebird through my window” and  “Sally goes round the sun” encourage children to dance and move together as a large group…


If you are looking for something a little less structured or a chance to be just plain silly, throw on some funky children’s music and let the children get down!  Greg and Steve’s “Listen and Move” and The Freeze” are favorites in our class…

We sing and dance...

And don’t forget about classic movement games like Duck, Duck, Goose and Musical Chairs…

Winter time large motor play by Teach Preschool

If you run out of inspiration for large group movement games, make up your own.  Make a simple DIY action cube that encourages children to get moving!  Your action cubes can have pictures, symbols, or words on them…

Winter time large motor play by Teach Preschool

Another easy way to make a new game is by getting creative with masking tape!  Create different lines, grids, or patterns on the floor for fun movement games.  Keep in mind that games can be super simple with few rules, if any at all.  Leave the tape on the floor for the whole day and see if it inspires the children to create their own games…

L is for lines by Teach Preschool

Also look for opportunities to tie in your large motor activities with your theme units or children’s books that you are reading in class.  The more invested children are in a particular theme, the more likely they are to be active participants.  We used sticky paper for this large scale movement game that we created for a Pete the Cat theme day…

Storybook Games by Teach Preschool

Sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures.  Don’t be afraid to completely rearrange your room to accommodate some much needed exercise!  If you have the equipment to do so, bring out mats, hula hoops, or cones to create an awesome obstacle course.  Use what you have, and make the most of it, even if it means making a mess…

Weaving through a rainbow by Teach Preschool

If the weather outside is frightful, bring a little bit of the delightful inside.  Join your children in a rousing indoor snowball fight.  One suggestion though: wait till the end of the day or maybe even the end of the week.  The children will have so much fun that they will request a snowball fight everyday…

Winter time large motor play by Teach Preschool

When all else fails, just count to five and exercise!   A few simple exercises or stretches, done in repetitions of five, can completely wake up sleepy children (and teachers too) and turn grumpy moods into happy ones to last the day through…

Winter time large motor play by Teach Preschool

Available on Amazon

And now it’s your turn to share how your indoor winter boredom busters with us!  Link up your Indoor Games and Play posts below…

Discover and Explore Linky

Discover and Explore

Discover and Explore: December Holidays

Open now – Indoor Games and Play

Upcoming Themes:

December 18 – Winter

Please read the following guidelines for sharing:

  • Share family-friendly posts related to the weekly topic — kids activities, crafts, recipes, nature outings, printables, etc.
  • By linking up, you are giving me permission to share your post including one photo in our weekly feature post and on social media channels.
  • Visit 2-3 other posts that have linked up, find some new ideas & meet new friends!
  • If you’d like, grab a button for your post — we love to share and want to find lots of great activities to highlight for you!

The linky will remain open for one week. Then all five co-hosts will feature activities in a separate post the Friday after the linky closes. All featured posts will be shared on the Discover and Explore Pinterest Board.  (Be sure to follow so you don’t miss any features!)

By |2017-01-03T14:35:50+00:00December 11th, 2013|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. Emma December 11, 2013 at 6:11 am - Reply

    What lovely ideas! Duck, Duck Goose is one of our favourites.

  2. monica December 11, 2013 at 5:27 pm - Reply

    I would like to contribute a game…Not sure how to do it. Can you clarify?

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