Use the Snow to Work on Motor Skills

sleddingIt’s cold and snowy during Michigan winters. Here are some great ideas to get your family moving and your kids working on improving their motor skills.

An outside snowy day is the perfect place to play. Getting ready for snow fun can be both challenging and rewarding. Putting on the snowpants, snugging the straps, pulling on the boots, zipping up the coat, placing the hat on, and finding just the right spot for your thumb in the mittens are all fine motor and body awareness skills children can achieve when given the time and the incentive. A  little help may be needed  for the youngest ones.

Once out the door in all the layers, a whole snow filled playground awaits in the yard. Running with boots on, wow that’s hard work! Check out the snow, is the snow soft, crunchy, wet, flaky, good for packing, or powdery?


  • Make a snow angel, that’s exercise, now try to get up without squashing the angel. Does it look like you?
  • Ready to make a snowman? Pack a snowball tight, now roll and roll, keep pushing it, use your arm, trunk, and leg strength. Now make 2 more and ask mom or dad to put them on top.  Find  some coal for eyes and a carrot for the nose and you have the perfect snowman.
  • Make a footprint path in the snow for your friends and parents to follow. Take big steps and small steps, jump with 2 feet. Try out some snow shoes, that will make walking a bit more challenging.
  • Play games outside. Hide and seek, red rover, red light- green light, kick ball, hockey, football or baseball can all be fun in the snow.
  • Ready for sledding?  Younger children enjoy being pulled on a sled, while the older ones seek the hills. Sledding down and climbing back up over and over builds great strength and endurance. No hills in your yard? Not a problem. Pack some snow and make your own hills. Children can pull each other on sleds for a good workout. Let your  imagination take over and be creative.
  • Build a fort, shovel a path, look for animal tracks, or make animal tracks, these are all ways to enjoy being outside.
  • Are you ready for more adventure?  Go ice skating.  Many rinks have open skate. Rental skates are often available and they may also provide plastic PVC walkers for children to help with balance. Bring your own bike or skating helmet with you. Ice skating is fun and challenging. It incorporates balance, coordination, and strength. Children about 3 years old can really start to enjoy skating, they don’t have far to fall and they will enjoy the quick progress they will make.
  • How about a skiing trip? Many places have equipment rental and lessons for the whole family. And they often have adapted equipment so that even members of the family with physical challenges can participate. Skiing is great for strength, balance and endurance. And just pure family fun.


After such and exciting day the kids will climb out of the layers of clothing, pile up the boots, and are ready for a snack. Soup or hot chocolate are just perfect to warm up all over. Expect your kids to go to bed early after such a fun and exhausting day.

–Amanda Froling, MPT and Carol L. Julien-Buell, MPT, Beaumont Hospital

2 Responses to “Use the Snow to Work on Motor Skills”

  1. 1 Anonymous December 19, 2013 at 11:27 am

    Wow! Such a great reminder on how we can do things that greatly benefit our children, without any cost. Playing in the snow is such a blast too! Thank you for your tips, Amanda! Love this article!

  2. 2 mothershelperfyi December 21, 2013 at 10:55 am

    I love this, I’m going to try this!

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