Gross Motor Skills Activities for Children
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Preventive Care
Children’s Health

Gross Motor Skills Activities for Children

18 December 2023 · 5 mins read


Discover more about your child's gross motor skills development, essential for engaging in physical activities and playing a significant role in their daily life.

Importance of Gross Motor Skills in a Child's Development

Gross motor skills are fundamental movements that require the coordination of large muscle groups. They are often seen in activities like running, jumping, and climbing.

From a child's initial steps in walking to the development of more refined athletic abilities, gross motor skills are the building blocks for physical development, influencing movement, cognitive, and social aspects.

Gross motor skills are developed through activities that involve large muscle groups, such as the legs, arms, and trunk. These skills are crucial for various physical activities and play a significant role in a child's daily life.

Gross motor skills contribute to a child's physical well-being by promoting strength, flexibility, and endurance. Activities that involve gross motor skills, such as running, jumping, and climbing, help keep children physically active and support the development of a healthy lifestyle.

There is a strong connection between gross motor skills and cognitive development. Gross motor skills lay the foundation for more complex cognitive functions, as they stimulate brain development and neural connections. Activities that require coordination and balance contribute to improved cognitive abilities.

Gross motor skills are essential in emotional development, self-confidence, independence, and peer acceptance. These activities allow children to explore and experiment with their bodies, building self-confidence and self-esteem.

Many activities involve gross motor skills, such as group sports, games, and outdoor play. Engaging in these activities helps children develop social skills, including teamwork, cooperation, and communication.

Gross Motor Development Chart for Children

Age Developmental Milestones
0-6 months
  • Rolls over in both directions
  • Sit with support
6-12 months
  • Lifts head with anticipation
  • Crawls forward on belly
  • Sits unaided
  • Creeps on hands and knees
  • Transitions between sitting, on all fours, and lying on the tummy
  • Pulls self to a standing position
  • Walks while holding onto furniture
  • Takes 2-3 steps without support
  • Imitates rolling a ball like an adult
18 months
  • Climbs up and down stairs while holding onto a rail or with one handheld for support
  • Pulls toys or carries a doll while maintaining balance
  • Throws a ball without falling
  • Demonstrates the ability to sit on a chair
2 years
  • Walks up and down the stairs independently, 2 feet per step
  • Walks backwards at 21 months of age
  • Runs
  • Picks up toys from the floor without falling
  • Throws and kicks a ball without losing balance
2.5 years
  • Jumps on both feet
  • Walks on tiptoes
3 years
  • Climbs up stairs using one foot per step
  • Descends stairs using two feet per step
  • Jumps off the bottom step
  • Balances on one foot for a few seconds
  • Rides a tricycle
4 years
  • Walks up and down the stairs, 1 foot per step
  • Hops on one foot
  • Skips on one foot
5 years
  • Runs on toes
  • Skips on both feet
6 years
  • Walks heel to toe
  • Kicking
  • Climbing
  • Throwing

Gross Motor Skills Activities for Toddlers & Preschoolers

Gross motor skills activities are important for toddlers (1 to 3 years of age) because they help develop physical abilities and build confidence as the child gains strength and coordination in movement abilities.

As children grow older, their gross motor skills continue to develop. Therefore, preschoolers (3 to 5 years of age) need opportunities to practice these skills and improve their coordination and balance.

Some examples of gross motor skills activities:

For Toddlers For Preschoolers
  • Use a soft ball and encourage them to kick it.
  • Rolling, throwing, and catching a ball.
  • Balancing on one foot.
  • Climbing on a couch using pillows.
  • Simple obstacle course for them to navigate.
  • Walking up and down hills with minimal incline.
  • Jumping on a small trampoline or cushions.
  • Play music and encourage them to dance.
  • Use soft balls or beanbags for throwing and catching practice.
  • Provide ride-on toys or tricycles for them to pedal.
  • If appropriate and under close supervision, introduce water play.
  • Introduce simple yoga poses designed for toddlers, such as "downward dog".
  • Set up a variety of obstacles like tunnels, cones, and hoops. Encourage climbing, jumping, and crawling through the course.
  • Playing hopscotch.
  • Playing with hula hoops.
  • Riding a bicycle or scooter.
  • Dancing and movement games.
  • Use child-sized jump ropes for hopping over and swinging.
  • Encourage safe exploration of basic gymnastics skills such as cartwheels, rolls and headstands.

Make an Appointment at Gleneagles Hospitals

Whether you are a parent, caregiver, or educator, it is important to provide support for the development of gross motor skills in children to empower them to engage with the world confidently and independently.

Get in touch with us to book an appointment with a paediatrician today, or find out more about the Paediatrics Services at your nearest Gleneagles Hospital.

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