Developing Gross Motor Skills on the Mulford School Playground

Promoting exercise and healthy living among children is a key focus in education programs across the country. At Mulford School, however, active play has been part of our curriculum for 45 years. But, for our students, outside playtime is also a learning time, and an opportunity to develop crucial gross motor skills.

Generally, by age 5, a child should be able to engage in a wide variety of activities, such as hopping up and down on one foot, catching a ball with two hands, and performing jumping jacks or even jumping rope. Playtime on the Mulford School playground helps reinforce these skills. Whether negotiating the rock climbing wall or riding one of the tricycles along our bike track, students develop a wide variety of gross motor skills such as:

  • The basics: running, jumping, climbing and peddling
  • Sports basics: kicking balls, throwing/catching
  • Balance: Jumping from one spot to another, jumping over objects, and walking on a thin line

Mulford School created its playground with gross motor skill development in mind. Students have no shortage of activities to choose from among the multiple playground playsets, rock climbing wall, slides, sandbox, playhouses, swings and ladders. They also love to engage their imaginations on our playground’s wooden train and decommissioned tractor. The school also features tricycles and a bike track, encouraging students to master the foot-peddling motion. And, when the weather keeps us indoors, we simply bring the playtime action into our large auditorium where teachers lead the students in special games and physical activities.

The best part about playground time at Mulford School? The students simply have fun. They have no idea that – as they swing, climb, run and laugh – they are also developing important gross motor skills.

The Mulford curriculum is rooted in the belief that a preschooler should be encouraged to take each and every activity they complete during the day as a learning experience. Playtime is no different. In addition to gross motor skill development, Mulford School playground time also includes opportunities to learn:

  • Numbers: Opportunities to count and reinforce numbers skills, with games such as leaping across numbered tree stumps
  • Social Skills: Exercising patience and camaraderie as students wait for swings and share toys
  • Imagination: The playground environment fosters endless imaginative play
  • Teambuilding: Soccer and hide-and-
    Students enjoy riding the wooden train on the playground at Mulford School

    Students enjoy riding the wooden train on the playground at Mulford School

    seek are just two of the team activities you see happening on the playground

  • Science: Quaintly situated under an arc of trees, children have a hands-on opportunity to engage with nature
  • Responsibility: When the bell rings, it’s time to clean-up, line-up and return to the classroom

Encourage gross motor skill development at home! Here are some fun activities to enjoy with your child:

  • Create the Olympics: Tape rags onto the bottom of socks and hold a cross-country ski race across a smooth floor
  • Obstacle Courses: Leap over toys, belly crawl under a table, and other activities can be lined up for a fun obstacle course
  • Racing: A good, old fashioned race in the backyard teaches sportsmanship and stretches the legs!

Find out more about gross motor skill development and the Mulford School curriculum by contacting us.


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. 

-From the Mulford School Teachers