Akron physical therapists

Fun Holiday Gross Motor Skills Activities from our Akron Physical Therapists!

Looking for some ways to warm up and help your littles work out those wiggles? Our Akron physical therapists have lots fun holiday activities that incorporate gross motor skills development.

For those who may be unfamiliar, gross motor skills are the skills that allow kids to do things involving large muscle groups (legs, arms, torso) and complete whole-body movements. Examples are things like jumping jacks, climbing and dancing.

Physical therapy goals will vary from child to child based on their abilities (so check with us if you aren’t sure!) but here are some ideas we hope will keep the whole family moving!

Nutcracker Freeze Dance

The idea is simple: Find some Nutcracker or Christmas music to play in the living room. As the music blares, have your kids move and groove. But when you hit pause: Everyone freeze! This one is great for wiggles AND giggles!

Reindeer Bootcamp

This is a series of cool obstacle course challenges that isn’t too difficult to string together. You’ll need a balance beam (or just a strip of tape on the floor will work), cones and hurdles (pillows work fine), pile of stuffed animals/toys, jump rope and box/bucket. Some examples include:

  • Up on the Rooftop. Try to make it to the other side of the balance beam without falling – but like a reindeer (in a bear crawl pattern, using hands and feet).
  • Christmas Tree Weave. Set up the Christmas trees (pillows/toys) and have everyone try to gallop in and out, round-and-round like a reindeer. Mix it up by having them leap over the trees as agile as can be!
  • Sleigh Pull. Fill your box/bucket high with toys and tie the jump rope to it. Then have your reindeer “pull the sleigh” – being careful not to topple the presents!
  • Reindeer Trot. Put on some holiday music and practice galloping around the room. Get those knees high and those strides long – and skip if you can!

Santa Says

This is just like Simon Says, but it’s Santa (and he’ll know if you get it right!). Some ideas for activities:

  • Fly like a reindeer
  • March in place like a toy nutcracker
  • Touch your elf toes
  • Shake like a snow globe
  • Roll like an ornament
  • Twist like a candy cane
  • Run like a gingerbread man
  • Move like a toy robot
  • Dance like Santa
  • Do “snow angel” jumping jacks

Winter Wonderland Yoga

Our Akron physical therapists are big fans of the Cosmic Yoga series, and they have several great, engaging options for holiday gross motor skills practice, including:

Reindeer Race

This is a cool board game that doubles as a physical activity. You can order as a printout here or make your own. It’s great for two or more players (and ideally, at least one adult). It includes activities like squatting, spinning, marching, floor touches and jumps. Winner gets a holiday treat (so you have to play more than once!).

Our Akron physical therapists love these games because not only do they get kids moving, but they get to practice social skills and language lessons too. They can also be adapted to each individual’s ability.

Our team at Therapy & Wellness Connection wishes all our clients & families the happiest of holidays and a bright new year!

Therapy & Wellness Connection – your connection to a life without limitations – provides physical therapy to children in Akron, Cleveland, Brecksville-Broadview Heights and surrounding communities. We also offer summer camp, day programs, education services, vocational counseling and more. Call us at (330) 748-4807 or send us an email

More Blog Entries:

How Akron Pediatric Physical Therapy is Different Than Adult PT, June 28, 2020, Akron Physical Therapists’ Blog