Gross Motor Skills
Gross motor skills refers to coordination of the large muscle groups in the body, which is important to
the development of a young child. Those are the muscles that allow us to walk, run, hop, skip and throw
a ball. In recent years we’ve been paying more attention to the skills involved in developing those
muscles due to an increase in obesity among young children. Research shows that young children are
spending increasing amounts of screen time and many are not receiving adequate amounts of outdoor
playtime. Strong gross motor skills depend, in large part, on strong muscles. Muscles are strengthened
by use and practice.
Well-developed gross motor skills won’t only help your child physically; it will also help their brain to
mature. Our brains rely on our bodies to receive information through our senses and the more
movement that our bodies have, the better developed language centers are, children are more spatially
aware and it even aids their ability to regulate their emotions.
Here are some activities to support the development of your child's gross motor skills
Play with a ball:
Roll a ball toward your child and let her kick it back to you. As your child progresses,
they will be able to run toward the ball and kick it. This requires the use of both sides of your child’s
body and their brain, which is also beneficial for learning skills. Catching a ball requires eye-hand
coordination and with practice, your child can learn do it with ease.
March to bed:
This not only makes going to bed fun, it also requires the use of large muscles. Also,
when your child brushes their teeth before bed, brushing requires them to crosses the midline of their
body, which is beneficial for coordination and brain development.
Move and clap in rhythm to music, which develops coordination and awareness of their body in
relation to others.
Unstructured playtime at a local park or playground:
Swing, climb on the monkey bars, play chase. Let your child burn off some energy. They will be happier and sleep better!