Mixing Colours by Sweeping Gross Motor Activity Outside
I think this is my favourite outdoor gross motor activity for young children and it is one that the children in my classes get really excited about. Children have so much fun doing this that they don’t realise that they are working hard and building muscle and strength. I would say that this is probably an activity that works best in school rather than something that could be done at home. However, I would highly recommend this as a great outside gross motor skills activity for young children. It can obviously be a bit messy so if you do this in school you may want to pre-warn parents that their children will need appropriate clothing.
What you need
- Brooms and brushes
- Powder paint (various colours- preferably primary colours)
- Light rain or alternatively a sprinkle of water
I usually do this activity when there is a very light rain or just after it has rained so that the ground is damp but not flooded. Alternatively, you could spray a small amount of water on the ground before starting. Sprinkle small spoonfuls of powder paint on the ground and then allow children to use brooms or mops to brush around and mix the paint. Children love spreading the colours all over the ground and mixing them to make different colours. This is great physical activity for young children and a fun way to help build their upper body strength, coordination and balance. This prepares them for writing. Some children love to run around whilst brushing so they are not only building strength but also navigating around obstacles such as other children! They develop their coordination and balance as they speed up, slow down, stop, start and change direction to keep themselves from bumping into one another or when rushing to brush new bits of paint.
Questions to ask
- What happens when you mix red and blue? Yellow and red?
- Can you make any shapes in the paint?
What they get from the Colour Sweep Gross Motor Activity
This is a great activity for children’s gross motor development, particularly strengthening their upper bodies, coordination and balance. Upper body strength (muscle strength), balance and coordination are all essential prerequisite skills that need to be developed to support fine motor dexterity required for writing. Building shoulder and arm strength will help children be able to move their arms and hands around to make the movements needed to write (Buckner, 2019).
This activity also gives the children the opportunity to mix colours and experiment with different colour combination mixtures.
Take it further
If children need further work to build their upper body strength and core stability there are a number of activities that can be done to build muscle and coordination:
- Crawling (including crawling through obstacle courses)
- Climbing up climbing frames, ladders (and even back up the slide)
- Tug of war
- Pouring water from jugs or watering cans (and carrying them) (see my post on mud kitchens for easy ways to do this)
- Pouring sand from buckets or cups (and carrying them)
- Throwing balls
- Carrying bags, buckets, jugs, etc. with some weight in them
Buckner, M. (2019) Therapy for street Kids. Available at: http://www.therapystreetforkids.com/aboutus.html (accessed 26 July 2019).