Sprouts Development » Gross Motor Skills

Gross Motor Skills & Activities

Gross motor skills are the abilities needed to control the large muscles of the body for walking, running, sitting, crawling, and other activities. The benefits of developing gross motor skills and incorporating physical activity into our preschooler’s days include: Long-lasting good health that comes from regular physical activity, increased confidence and improved self-esteem that comes from being able to successfully take part in games with other children, release of stress and frustration through physical activity and improved school skills.

Gross Motor Development

2-6 months

  • Holds head up
  • Rolls from front to back
  • Sits with support, then independently

6-9   months

  • Crawls forward/backward
  • Makes stepping movements when supported
  • Pulls to stand

9-15 months

  • Stands alone
  • Walks without support
  • Stoops and recovers (a toy or object)

15-18 months

  • Climbs 2-3 steps with support
  • Throws a ball forward
  • Stands on one foot with help
  • Carries a large toy while walking

2-3 years

  • Kicks ball
  • Runs well
  • Climbs onto/down from furniture unassisted
  • Walks up/down stairs using alternate feet
  • Balances on one foot for 5 seconds
  • Rides tricycle

4-5 years

  • Hops on one foot
  • Skips and gallops
  • Catches a small ball
  • Navigates stairs while holding object
  • Turns somersault

5-6 years

  • Jumps rope
  • Skates
  • Rides bicycle
  • Walks on balance beam
  • Rhythmic skipping

Gross Motor Activities

Infants

  • Allow for “tummy time” several times a day
  • Hold your baby in sitting positions and while baby is standing
  • Encourage your baby to roll over

Toddlers

  • Play ball with your child
  • Provide push and pull toys for your child
  • Help your child walk up and down stairs
  • Show your child how to swing, climb, kick
  • Provide large muscle activities such as rocking horses, slides, etc.
  • Show your child how to jump, getting both feet off the floor at the same time
  • Provide riding toys for your child
  • Play music and show your child how to swing, clap, and dance to the music

2-3 years

  • Encourage climbing, running, jumping and balancing
  • Have your child play “follow the leader” and crawl, tiptoe, bunny hop etc., under tables, around chairs, etc.
  • Show your child how to bounce a large ball to you, then bounce the ball back so he/she can catch it
  • Show your child how to “walk a tightrope” using a line on the driveway
  • Show your child how to play games like ring toss or dropping clothes pins into juice cans

4-5 years

  • Miniature golf
  • Leap frog
  • Hopscotch
  • Obstacle course

5-6 years

  • Provide bicycle, skates and jump rope
  • Encourage playground activities: jumping, hopping, climbing, skipping, balancing
  • Encourage your child to play different ball games which involve hitting, catching, throwing and kicking the ball
  • Provide opportunities for movement through dance and gymnastics

Sources: Denver Developmental Activities, Communications Works Developmental Milestones

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