Helping Children Develop Their Physical Skills at Home - By Tina Tran

YMCAs of Québec - March 18 2020

Kids can develop their basic motor skills even if they need to stay at home. There are three major categories of basic motor skills: traveling, manipulative and balancing skills. These are all featured in the YMCAs of Québec’s ‘Expand your activity bank’ tool.  

Here are some game ideas that can help children to develop these three kinds of motor skills.  

  • To develop traveling skills:

Kitty Tag

Instead of running, players act like cats and move around on all fours. To come back into the game, players must do three cat stretches.  

Variation: Try Crab Tag, Lazy Snake Tag or Skunk Tag. 

For more of a challenge: Everyone is it!

Sock Race  

Place an empty bin on one side of the room and a pile of socks on the other. Choose five different movements to get from one end of the room to the other. Players must drop the sock in the bin as fast as they can, each time moving in these different ways.

Variation: Increase the number of socks or add obstacles.  

Keep the Balloon Up!

Blow up a balloon and hit it towards the ceiling to keep it in the air. Add more challenges like moving like a duck, a spider or a cat.  

Variation: Change the movement every 15 seconds 

For more of a challenge: Add balloons.  

  • To develop manipulative skills: 

Tic Tac Boom

Players sit in a circle and throw a stuffed toy to each other. While the toy is being thrown around, the leader of the game says, “Tic… Tac… Tic… Tac…” If they say, “Boom!” players need to lie on the ground and not touch the toy.   

Variation: Throw the toy behind your back or while jumping up and down. 

For more of a challenge: Use a smaller toy.

Bowling at Home

Use water bottles or paper towel rolls as pins and a ball. 

Variation: Instead of rolling the ball on the ground, throw a rolled up pair of socks to change it into a homemade Mölkky game. 

For more of a challenge: Take a step back each time you hit a pin.  

Trick Shots

This game will keep your older kids entertained for a while! Choose an object (e.g. a ping-pong ball) and a target (e.g. a glass). From a pre-determined distance, players try to score with the least throws as possible. 

Variation: Score by bouncing the ball on the ground / bouncing the ball twice / bouncing it off the wall / throwing it behind your back. 

For more of a challenge: Change the distance, height, size of the target, or the size of the ball, etc. 

  • To develop their balancing skills:

Spy Obstacle Course

Create a spy obstacle course for your child.  Here are a few ideas: 

  • Crawling under a chair
  • Getting through a web of lasers (string, streamers, etc.)
  • Slinking along the wall  

Variation: Change the theme of the course, e.g. ninjas, Hunger Games, Mario Bros, Pokémon, etc.

For more of a challenge: The goal is to bring back a set of keys without rattling them. 

Living Room Dance Party

Choose any theme you like: disco, Zumba, hip hop, etc. Blast some music and let loose! 

Variation: Try the ‘Fortnite Dance Challenge’—your kids will love showing off their moves. 

For more of a challenge: Prepare to take a video of the routine and things will get more intense because you’re getting ready to put on a show.