Gross motor skill activities for babies and toddlers
Gross motor skills require whole-body movement and include the controlling of your little one’s large muscles, such as those in their arms, legs, and torso.
They involve being able to complete day-to-day actions like standing, sitting, and walking as well as more playful movements like skipping, jumping, running, and throwing – vital for helping your child blossom into a fully functioning individual.
So, why are these skills so important and what gross motor skill activities are ideal for babies and toddlers?
The importance of gross motor skills in Early childhood
Your little one crawling with determination and sitting upright are examples of gross motor skills. These abilities will play a significant role in shaping your child’s self-care skills and daily functions – without them, children wouldn’t be able to walk, dress themselves, or exercise.
Gross motor skills also enable the development of other critical abilities, such as coordination, reactions, and balancing.
Which gross motor skill activities are age-appropriate for your child?
There are so many fun gross motor activities that encourage full-body movement. However, you’ll need to choose age-appropriate activities suitable for your child.
Gross motor skill activities for babies
Even during their early months, your little one is eager to move and explore their surroundings – letting them engage in the following helps them grow into a confident toddler.
Tummy time is a brief 2–3-minute period when babies are on their front whilst awake – this is a fantastic way to help them strengthen their neck and shoulder muscles.
Lay your child belly-down on a comfortable play mat, where they’ll start to look around, developing the neck control needed to raise their head. They’ll also eventually use their arms and legs to push, helping them to crawl, roll over or sit up.
Between the ages of 7 to 10 months, your little one will have started crawling, which is a fantastic way to boost gross motor skills and build muscle strength.
To make it even more fun, tempt them to crawl further by placing their favourite toy or foods just out of reach and watch as their excitement and resolve grows.
Foam obstacle courses
Ideal for infants who’ve perfected crawling - soft foam obstacle courses are a great way to take it safely to the next level.
Place your special one within the arrangement of foam elements and watch as they crawl and navigate through the course. This new and engaging environment provides plenty of excitement and an active workout.
Gross motor skill activities for 1-year olds
After your baby reaches one, they’re ready for more activities that advance the skills gained as a baby.
Pushing a baby walker
A walker is a wooden frame with four wheels beneath and an easy-reach handle. These wonderfully fun toys are a super entertaining way to get your little one up and walking independently using their legs and core muscles simultaneously!
Plus, they contain a host of exciting interactive elements that enhance their fine motor skills too.
Action nursery rhymes
Engage your toddler’s mind, ears, and body with fun dance-along nursery rhymes. The classics include Wheels on the Bus, If You’re Happy and you know it and Head, shoulders, knees, and toes but you can sing any you know already.
By teaching your child these exciting, active nursery rhymes, they’ll gain a muscle workout while following the simple dance moves.
Apart from being thoroughly enjoyable for your toddler, ball pits are ideal for enhancing their gross motor skills.
Throwing, catching, and rolling colourful plastic balls is an interactive way to encourage their abilities and develop body movements.
Gross motor skill activities for 2-year-olds
By the time your toddler has turned two, they’ll be physically ready for more in-depth activities, including:
The thrill of catching bubbles is a mesmerising sensory experience for toddlers to enjoy.
Using a blow wand, blow lots of bubbles into the air, and watch your little one chase after them, sometimes even standing on their toes to reach them.
This activates their arm, leg, and core muscles whilst playing.
Children’s slides are gross motor toys that offer a thrilling and safe way to enhance their muscle development and balance abilities.
Climbing the small wooden steps and pulling themselves onto the top of the slide boosts your kid’s gross motor growth by encouraging them to use the large muscles in their arms, legs, and core.
Playing in tent tunnels
Placing a pop-up tunnel on your toddler’s play mat is another incredible way to stimulate their physical abilities.
Your child is encouraged to crouch, crawl, and clamber through the tunnel, engaging all of the muscles in their core, arms, and legs.
Gross motor skill activities for 3-year-olds
By three years of age, it’s time to move your toddler on to more advanced activities that require increased physical strength, such as:
Balance boards offer a full-body workout, helping to boost muscle development all over the body.
Balancing and rocking on the board requires the use of core muscles and also helps to boost spacial awareness and coordination, developing core stability, strength, and balance.
With a toy rocker, as your little one rocks back and forth, they're not just having fun - they're also strengthening essential muscles in their arms, legs, and torso.
Balancing upright, swaying to and fro, and confidently climbing on and off the rocker provides a complete exercise experience for children – this is because it helps to grow their larger muscles, contributing to their overall physical progression.
Small wooden climbing frames are perfect for 3-year-olds ready to further their skills.By gripping, climbing, and hanging from the beams, your special one exercises their arms, contributing to their overall physicality.
Find gross motor development toys for all ages
Feel confident choosing gross motor skill developing toys for your little one?
If you would like more guidance or personalised recommendations for picking the perfect gross motor toys for your little one, our knowledgeable team are on hand to help. Just call us on 08000 705 225 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get back to you with our bespoke recommendations – just for your wee one.