10 Gross Motor Toys for Preschoolers (1 to 4 years olds)

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In early childhood, there’s no denying the physical and brain connection. We have all experienced the increase in focus after a workout due to the extra serotonin released in our brain. Imagine a child who is extra sensitive to his surroundings, getting that extra dose of serotonin, then being able to focus on other activities is a huge plus. I have seen it time and time again in my child: his concentration, his mood and his sleep vastly improved with lots of physical activities. In this post, I want to introduce you to several brands that make amazing gross motor toys: Fat Brain, ECR4KIDs, Little Tykes, Guidecraft. JJ has used the toys at home and at playspaces. These are indoor toys, climbing toys, gymnastics toys and bouncing toys. They are best used for a toddler or preschooler between 1 to 4 years old.

Here’s JJ’s physical development from 1 to 2 years old. It’s amazing the benefits he received from playing with some of these toys over the last two years.

Here’s JJ’s physical development playlist from 2 years old to 2.5 years old.

Do you really want your kids to be doing all this at a young age? 

We all know that toddlers like to move. Rather than getting into a battle over it. Why not support their activity with some safe toys that they will be engrossed with. For us, some of these toys have proven to be crucial to weather the winter months indoors.

Fat Brain Teeter Popper

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This amazing balance board is great for a child who’s learned to walk. It allows the child to practice balance which is central to any physical activity. When you flip the board over, you can also use it as a bridge where the child can climb and stand on top. This is also the perfect board for an older sibling to practice sharing with the younger sibling. Both children can take turns balancing on the board or they can play on either end of it.

Pikler Triangle

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The Pikler Triangle is popular in the Montessori gross motor toy.  It’s the comprehensive gross motor toy that supports climbing, promotes balance and encourages spatial awareness. Between the age of 2 and 3 years old, many toddlers who have mastered walking move onto the climbing stage. This device provides a safe place for the child to climb. The board is positioned so that the child can slide down. This triangle also doubles as a play tent if you put a bed sheet over it. It’s one of the must have toys for a big family.

GuideCraft Kitchen Helper

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You are thinking what is a kitchen helper doing in a post about gross motor toys. Well, this kitchen helper is so sturdy. It’s actually the first item that inspired JJ to climb. As my toddler progressed in physical skills, it served as a monkey bar as well as a wall climbing device. It also doubled as a fort. We used it as a part of our indoor obstacle course when my son was between 1 and 2 years old. We often played hide and seek in it as well. This is probably one of the most versatile toys that we continue to use over and over again.

ECR4Kids SoftZone Climb and Crawl Foam Playset

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This gross motor foam play set is the perfect set for both the baby and the toddler. It is a safe place for the baby to practice balance, climbing and other skills. My son spent hours on the foam blocks before he started to walk at his daycare. The curves on some of the blocks helped my son with balance during his toddlerhood. This set contains different types of blocks that can be separated and used with multiple kids.

Little Tykes Jump and Slide

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This Jump and Slide is one of the best for indoor use. It’s just small enough to fit in a living area. Yet, it is large enough for a couple of growing toddlers to have fun in. Between the age of 2 years old and 3 years old, jumping is also a stage that many toddlers go through. Having a safe place to jump and slide can mean hours of accident free fun. This is also one of the best toys for a family with multiple kids.

Kids Jungle Gymnastics Expandable Bar

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There are many gymnastics bars that cost a fortune. This one is economical and collapsable. If you are living in an apartment without a backyard, your active child can have hours of physical fun on this device. A monkey bar is extremely versatile. For instance, the child can learn hand stand on it; swing on it; and pull up on it. With some additions such as a swing or a large soft block, the child can have playground fun right on this device. A wall climbing mat can also be added onto this device where the child can climb up and slide down.

EZ Play’s Panda Indoor Playground

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If you live in a place where half of the year, it’s too cold for a toddler to go outside, this is the perfect indoor playground for your child’s playroom. There are different types of climbing holds; there’s a swing and a slide. Multiple children can use it at the same time. It’s collapsable for storage. I love physical toys that you can put away. This way, you can signal to your children the end of a play session and move them on to another activity.

ECR4Kids Indoor/Outdoor Caterpillar Play Tunnel

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This caterpillar play tunnel is not only cute but it also has many versatile climbing and learning features. The body of the tunnel is made up of circles that act as climbing holds. The caterpillar is large enough that multiple kids can climb onto it and then slide down simultaneously. The boots of the caterpillar are in multiple colors. When my son first learned to climb on to it, he would point out the colors on the boots after he slid down. The tunnel is also a perfect place to play hide and seek. The cut out circles are great for the child to peek out and “boo” you.

Little Tykes Trampoline

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It’s really difficult to find a trampoline that has sturdy foot holds. Usually, the holds are made up of metal wires for outdoor use. But, this trampoline has solid plastic holds on the bottom that will stand up well on a carpeted floor. This trampoline also has an enclosure so that your child can be contained while trying out new skills. The slide and the climbing steps are added fun features. For a child who loves to jump, a trampoline can be a life saver for the parent. The child can be redirected to the trampoline when the child wants to jump off other furnitures in the house.

For suggestions of other gross motor toys click here.
See more of JJ’s gross motor skills, click here for Dance, Dance, Dance.

Monkey Bars Climbing Tower

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Have you seen the massive metal monkey bar climbing towers on playgrounds these days? I’m completely uncomfortable having my child on one of these, unless my child had ample practice. This is a monkey bar climbing tower that can be setup in a playroom that will give your child opportunities to practice climbing in those winter months. By the time spring comes around, your child will have mastered this equipment. Playground trips will be less worrying when your child wants to conquer this type of monkey bar there.

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