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Gross Motor Skills

Gross motor skills involve using large muscles in a coordinated way. Learn about these important skills and how you can help further develop them in your child.

Baby boy learning how to crawl, father smiling in backround

Gross motor skills are foundational skills that involve bigger movements using large muscle groups – arms, legs, feet, and trunks – to move the body. With practice, children learn to develop and use gross motor skills so they can move in their world with balance, coordination, ease, and confidence!

Examples of gross motor skills include sitting, crawling, running, jumping, throwing a ball, and climbing stairs. Even the first time a baby lifts his head is an example of a gross motor skill.

There are lots of fun and simple activities you can do with your child to help develop gross motor skills. These include:

  • Playing active games together, such as jumping rope, hopscotch, tag, and hide-and-seek.

  • Helping your child go down slides, climb ladders, or pump legs on the swing at a playground.

  • Teaching your child to toss, catch, and kick using balls of different sizes.

  • Helping your toddler build a fort by draping a blanket over a couple of chairs, or stacking empty cardboard boxes (using larger ones for tunnels!).

  • Making an age-appropriate obstacle course. With toddlers, lay pillows, cushions, and blankets in small stacks on the floor and encourage them to crawl over the “hills.” For preschoolers, lay a hula hoop on the ground for them to jump into, or make a ball toss with an empty basket or box.

QUICK TIP: Limit screen time and instead encourage plenty of daily movement and play. Being active is important for developing your child’s gross motor skills – and it boosts healthy brain development too!

First 5 California
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First 5 California
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