Learning gross motor skills is crucial for all children, helping their muscles grow bigger and stronger and carrying out more complex physical movements such as riding a bike or learning to swim, if they’ve not been taking classes since they were very young.
Although your child will naturally learn these abilities simply by exploring the world around them, there are tried and tested ways that you can help them to develop their gross motor skills.
From setting up an obstacle course in your backyard to playing tug of war to utilizing push and pull toys, keep reading to discover how you can support the development of your child’s gross motor skills.
What are gross motor skills?
As briefly mentioned above, gross motor skills are movements that use your child’s large muscles, such as their arms, legs, and torso.
There are several key components of gross motor skills. These are:
• Muscle strength
• Motor planning
• Body awareness
• Weight shifting
• Muscle endurance
What activities can I do with my child to improve their gross motor skills?
If you would like to give your child a little extra helping hand with the development of their gross motor skills, the below activities and games are perfect for this.
1. Pushing and pulling
Whether your child loves nothing more than pushing their dolls around in a pram or they can’t get enough of their pull along tractor, push and pull toys are ideal for building upon several components of gross motor skills.
Although you may be tempted to help your child as they learn the art of balance and body awareness, you are better off letting them make their own mistakes and learning how to use their own body themselves.
Click here to discover a selection of beautiful wooden push and pull toys that your child will love and that can be passed down from one generation to the next.
2. Navigating an obstacle course
An incredibly cost-effective option, you can set up an age-appropriate obstacle course either in your home or in your backyard. If your child is very young and you are worried about them hurting themselves, use a selection of pillows, cushions, and rugs to create a safe course in your living room.
Try to pick obstacles of varying heights to challenge your child further and increase their spatial awareness.
3. Playing tug of war
For slightly older children, tug of war is a great way to develop their gross motor skills further, working all the key large muscle groups in their bodies. This fun game that your child will love also improves their weight shifting abilities and core strength.
Why not try a few different tug of war positions to work even more different muscles, such as sitting down, kneeling, and standing back to back.
Other great gross motor skills activities include:
7. Bouncing on a trampoline
9. Climbing rope ladders
10. Chasing bubbles