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Gross Motor Skills for Kids, Infants, Toddlers, & Preschoolers

Written by: Kokotree

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gross motor skills

Do you have a toddler who loves to explore their surroundings? If so, you’re probably already aware of the importance of developing gross motor skills. 

Gross motor skills involve using the larger muscles in your body to perform tasks, and they are essential for toddlers as they learn to navigate the world around them. 

In this post, we’ll discuss what gross motor skills your child should be working on and offer some tips for helping them develop these skills.

What are fine and gross motor skills?

Motor skills are an essential part of a child’s development. There are two types of motor skills:

What are gross motor skills?

Gross motor skills are the abilities required to control large muscles in the body, such as those used for walking, running, and lifting. These skills develop during infancy, through preschool, and childhood and continue to improve throughout life. 

Gross motor skills involve coordination between different body parts and the ability to balance and maintain a stable posture. Strong gross motor skills are essential for daily activities such as getting dressed, climbing stairs and playing sports. 

Gross motor skills definition. 

Gross motor skills are the skills that involve the movement of the large muscles in the body, such as the muscles in the legs and arms. 

These skills are necessary for everyday activities such as walking, running, and climbing. Gross motor skills develop throughout childhood and continue to improve into adulthood. 

What are fine motor skills?

Fine motor skills are the ability to control the small muscles in our hands, fingers, and wrists. These skills allow us to perform tasks such as holding a pencil, tying shoelaces, fastening buttons, and using cutlery. 

Fine motor skills develop from birth as babies learn to grasp objects and make purposeful movements. 

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Gross motor skills examples. Examples of gross motor skills.

There are a variety of gross motor skills that children can develop. Some common examples include:

  • Walking
  • Running
  • Jumping
  • Hopping
  • Throwing
  • Catching
  • Kicking
  • Balancing
  • Climbing
  • Swimming
  • Biking
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Why Are Gross Motor Skills Important?

Gross motor skills are essential for a child’s overall development, and these skills help children to develop coordination, balance, and strength. 

Additionally, gross motor skills provide the foundation for later fine motor skills development, such as writing and drawing.

How Can Parents Encourage Gross Motor Skill Development?

There are several ways that parents can encourage gross motor skill development in their children. Some ideas include:

  • Providing opportunities for outdoor play
  • Encouraging active playtime indoors
  • Signing up for sports or dance classes
  • Taking family walks or bike rides together

When Do Children typically Develop Gross Motor Skills?

Most children begin developing gross motor skills around six months of age. However, every child develops at their own pace, so some may develop these skills earlier or later than others. 

If you are concerned about your child’s gross motor skill development, speak with your child’s doctor or another healthcare professional.

Gross motor skills activities.

To help your child grow and develop their gross motor skills, engaging them in various activities is crucial. 

Here are some fun gross motor activities that will get your child moving! From playing tag to dancing around the house, there are plenty of ways for your child to explore their gross motor skills. So get moving and have some fun!

Gross motor activities and learning skills for infants and babies.

Although it may seem like babies are just tiny, helpless creatures that can’t do anything independently, they start developing gross motor skills early on in life. 

These skills allow babies to move around and explore their environment, which is crucial for their growth and development. Here are some essential gross motor skills that infants should start working on.

1. Tummy Time.

Tummy time is an important activity for infants and babies as it helps to develop the muscles in their back, neck, and shoulders. It is recommended that infants spend at least 30 minutes per day doing tummy time, either in short intervals throughout the day or all at once. 

There are various ways to make tummy time more enjoyable for your child, such as placing them on a soft mat or blanket, providing them with toys to play with, or lying down with them and providing gentle encouragement.

2. Rolling Over.

Rolling over is another crucial milestone for infants and babies as it helps to develop their upper body strength. Most babies will start to roll over around 4-5 months, but some may start earlier or later. 

To help your child learn to roll over, you can place them on their back and encourage them to reach for a toy that is just out of their reach. You can also try rolling a ball back and forth in front of them to encourage them to follow it with their eyes and eventually roll over to reach it.

3. Sitting Up.

Sitting up is an essential milestone for infants and babies as it helps to develop their trunk control and balance. Most babies can sit up independently by 6-7 months, but some may need a little longer. 

To help your child learn to sit up, you can start by sitting them up against a wall or pillows for support. Once they can sit up independently, you can try playing games such as peek-a-boo or pat-a-cake that require them to maintain their sitting position.

4. Crawling.

Crawling is an important milestone for infants and babies as it helps to develop their coordination and muscle strength. Most babies will start crawling around 7-9 months, but some may start earlier or later. 

To help your child learn to crawl, you can place them on their hands and knees in front of a toy they are interested in and encourage them to reach for it. You can also try crawling yourself so your baby can see what they need to do.

5. Standing Up.

Standing up is an essential milestone for infants and babies as it helps to develop their leg strength and balance. Most babies will start pulling themselves up to a standing position around 8-9 months, but some may start earlier or later. 

To help your child learn to stand up, you can place them next to a piece of furniture they can hold onto for support, such as a couch or table. Once they can stand up independently, you can try playing games with them that involve moving around, such as “Simon Says” or “Red Light Green Light.

6. Walking.

Walking is an essential milestone for infants and babies as it helps develop their coordination and muscle strength. Most babies will take their first steps around 9-12 months, but some may start earlier or later. 

To help your child learn to walk, you can place them next to a low piece of furniture they can hold onto for support, such as a couch or table. You can also try holding their hands and helping them take their first steps. As they continue to practice walking, be sure to provide lots of encouragement and praise to remain motivated.

7. Nursery Rhymes

Nursery rhymes are not just for singing time; they can also encourage gross motor skills in toddlers!

So the next time you and your child are looking for a fun activity together, try one of these upbeat nursery rhymes and watch your child’s gross motor skills improve before your eyes.

1) Twinkle Twinkle Little Star is the most famous rhyme to enact. Kids will love making a star and twinkling motion with their hands!

Some of the hand motions to match the rhyme are-

  • Twinkle, twinkle, little star — flash your hands like they are blinking.
  • How I wonder what you are — put your hands to your side, palms up, like you are asking a question.
  • Up above the world so high — sweep your arms above your head.
  • Like a diamond in the sky — make a diamond shape using your two pointer fingers and thumb and raise it slowly above your head.

2) The Dancing Song Of Animals – You can add many movements to this song by pretending to be different animals. Whole-body actions and extensive activities will help develop your child’s gross motor skills, which increase ability in running, jumping, and throwing, for example.

3) Walking Through The Jungle –Kids can quickly enact this rhyme. Movements like walking and acting will help develop their gross motor skills.

4) Ring Around The Rosie – This is a famous rhyme to put actions to. Your child must continue to develop their gross motor skills, as they help with balance, coordination, and all types of movement like walking, running and throwing.

5) Row, Row, Row Your Boat – This classic nursery rhyme is perfect for helping toddlers practice their rowing motion. Please have your child sit on the floor with their legs extended to do this. Then, have them clasp their hands together and move their arms back and forth in a rowing motion.

6) Itsy Bitsy Spider – This nursery rhyme is perfect for helping toddlers practice their crawling skills. To do this, have your child get down on all fours and crawl forward as they sing the song. You can even make it more challenging by having them crawl under obstacles or through tunnels made of pillows or blankets.

Gross motor skills for toddlers – one, two, and three-year-olds.

Toddlers are constantly on the go, exploring their surroundings and testing their abilities. And while they’re learning new things every day, some gross motor skills are essential for toddlers to master. Here’s a look at three of them.

1. Crawling.

Crawling is an important gross motor skill for toddlers as it helps develop the muscles in their arms and legs and helps them develop coordination and balance. Toddlers typically begin crawling around the age of six months.

2. Standing.

Standing is another critical gross motor skill for toddlers. It helps to develop the muscles in their legs and feet, and it also helps them to develop balance. Toddlers typically begin standing around the age of nine months.

3. Walking.

Walking is an important gross motor skill for toddlers. It helps to develop the muscles in their legs and feet and helps them develop coordination. Toddlers typically begin walking around the age of twelve months.

4. Running.

Running is an important gross motor skill for toddlers. It helps to develop the muscles in their legs and feet, and it also helps them to develop coordination and balance. Toddlers typically begin running around the age of eighteen months.

5. Jumping.

Jumping is an important gross motor skill for toddlers. It helps to develop the muscles in their legs and feet, and it also helps them to develop coordination and balance. Toddlers typically begin jumping around the age of two years.

6. Hopping.

Hopping is an important gross motor skill for toddlers. It helps to develop the muscles in their legs and feet, and it also helps them to develop coordination and balance. Toddlers typically begin hopping around the age of two years.

Gross motor skills for preschoolers – four and five-year-olds

Preschoolers are constantly learning and growing, and as a parent, it’s vital to help them foster their gross motor skills. This means encouraging activities that promote movement and coordination, such as climbing, running, jumping, and swinging.

1. Running.

Running is an excellent way for your child to get some exercise and fresh air and also a great way to improve their gross motor skills.

2. Hopping.

Hopping is another excellent way to improve your child’s gross motor skills. You can have them hop on one foot or two feet.

3. Skipping.

Skipping is a great way to get your child’s heart rate up while improving their gross motor skills.

4. Jumping.

Jumping is a great way to improve your child’s coordination and balance. You can have them jump with two feet or one foot.

5. Throwing and Catching.

Throwing and catching is a great way to improve your child’s hand-eye coordination. You can start with a soft ball and gradually increase the size of the ball as they get better at it.

6. Kicking.

Kicking is a great way to improve your child’s gross motor skills. You can have them kick a ball, or you can set up some cones and have them kick the ball through the cones.

7. Climbing.

Climbing is a great way to improve your child’s gross motor skills, as well as their strength and coordination. You can set up a climbing wall in your backyard or take them to the park to climb on the monkey bars.

8. Dancing.

Dancing is an excellent way for your child to get some exercise while having fun, and it is also a great way to improve their gross motor skills, coordination, and balance.

Delayed gross motor skills.

Many parents worry when their child seems behind peers in developing gross motor skills such as sitting up, rolling over, or crawling. However, it is crucial to remember that every child develops at their own pace. While some children may walk or crawl early, others may take a little longer to reach these milestones. 

In most cases, there is no cause for concern. However, it is always best to consult a healthcare professional if you are worried about your child’s development. They will be able to assess your child’s growth and provide guidance on whether or not there is cause for concern. 

In many cases, simple exercises and activities can help to encourage gross motor skill development. With time and patience, your child will catch up to their peers and reach their milestones at the appropriate time.

Inexpensive gross motor skills toys for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers.

Are you looking for affordable ways to help your child develop gross motor skills? Here are some great ideas that will keep the bank intact. We break our suggestions into toys for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers.

Infants and babies.

You’re lucky if you’re looking for ways to help your infant develop gross motor skills! Many different types of inexpensive toys can help. In this post, we’ll share some of our favorites. Keep reading to learn more.

Soft foam balls.

These soft foam balls are great for infants as they are easy to grasp and help develop their gross motor skills. Your child can also use the balls in various ways, such as for tummy time or playing catch.

Stackable rings.

Stackable rings are another great option for infants as they can help to develop their hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. The rings can also be used in various ways, such as for stacking or sorting.

Nesting cups.

Nesting cups are an excellent option for infants as they can help to develop their hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. Children can also use the cups in various ways, such as for stacking or pouring.

Soft blocks.

Soft blocks are an excellent option for infants as they are easy to grasp and help develop their gross motor skills. Kids can also use the blocks in various ways, such as by building or knocking them down.

Activity table.

An activity table is a great option for infants as it provides them a safe place to explore and play. Young learners can also use the table in various ways, such as drawing or playing with toys.

Toddlers.

Like most parents, you want to give your toddler many opportunities for gross motor skill development. But you may only have a little money to spend on toys and games. Never fear! 

There are plenty of inexpensive options out there that will help your little one work on their gross motor skills, and here are just a few ideas to get you started.

Hula Hoop.

Hula hoops are not just for kids! They are great for gross motor skills development too. You only need an inexpensive hula hoop and some space to move around; you can even use them indoors if you have hardwood floors.

Pool Noodles.

Pool noodles are great for gross motor skills development because they are lightweight and easy to manipulate. They are also very inexpensive and can be found at most dollar stores.

Bean Bags.

Bean bags are another great option for gross motor skills development. They are soft and easy to catch, making them perfect for toddlers. You can usually find bean bags at your local department store or online.

Balls.

Balls are a classic toy that every toddler should have. They are great for gross motor skills development because they require coordination and balance to play with. You can find balls at most toy stores or online retailers.

Ride-On Toys.

Ride-on toys are an excellent way for toddlers to develop their gross motor skills. They help to improve coordination and balance while also being lots of fun! You can find ride-on toys at most toy stores or online retailers.

Preschoolers.

If you’re looking for some inexpensive gross motor skills toys for your preschooler, look no further! Here are a few suggestions of fun items that help develop fine and gross motor skills.

Jump Rope.

Jump ropes are an excellent option for preschoolers as they promote gross motor skills development and physical fitness. They can be found at most toy stores or online retailers, and there are many different types to choose from, depending on your child’s interests and abilities.

Wobble Boards.

Wobble boards are another great option for preschoolers as they help to improve balance, coordination, and muscle strength. They can be found at most toy stores or online retailers, and there are many different styles to choose from depending on your child’s age and interests.

Swing Set.

Swing sets are a great way for preschoolers to play and have fun while developing their gross motor skills. They can be found at most parks or playgrounds, or you can even buy your swing set to install in your backyard.

Playground.

A playground is a great place for preschoolers to play and explore, with lots of different equipment that kids can use to improve gross motor skills. There are indoor and outdoor playgrounds, depending on your child’s interests and abilities.

Trampoline.

A trampoline is fun for preschoolers to get active and develop their gross motor skills. They can be found at most sports or fitness stores and online retailers. Just be sure to make sure your child is using the trampoline safely and under adult supervision at all times.

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