Gross motor skills are physical skills which requires the whole body movement involving large muscle groups. These skills are vital to perform everyday functions such as running, jumping, walking, sitting upright, etc. These skills also include hand-eye coordination skills such as throwing, catching, kicking and more. If gross motor skills skills are not developed properly it will affect the individual’s ability to perform fine motor skills, such as writing, cutting, etc.
By the age of four your child should have mastered the following skills:
- Stand on one foot for 5 seconds
- Kick and throw a ball, able to catch a ball
- Run around obstacles and jump over obstacles landing on both feet
- Walk on a line
- Hop on one foot
When they reach the age of five years, your child should be able to:
- Walk up stairs while holding an object
- Walk backwards toe-heel
- Jump forward 10 times without falling
- Hang from a bar for at least 5 seconds
- Catch a small ball
Does your child need some help? We have listed a few fun activities which will help your child improve their gross motor skills.
Sometimes children will hold their breath as they try to stabilize their core, but this causes a decrease in balance. So encourage your children to sing or talk as they move or play a game. This will help them relax and help get enough oxygen to their muscles.
Play games which involves, rhythm, balance and senses. Put on a song, dance and clap to the beat. Play catch with a beanbag, and count to a beat as you make turns to throw the bag.
Go to a playground and encourage play. Climb ladders, crawl through tunnels, go down slides. Activities like these provide stimulation to practice balance (visual and vestibular systems). If you don’t have access to a park build your own playground at home. Use chairs and blankets to create tunnels. Let them climb over the bed and roll over a blanket. Let your child crawl underneath a table or climb a tree. The options are limitless when you use your imagination.
Trampolines is a great way to improve balance and develop those little legs. Try going to a trampoline park, or if you don’t have access to one try some other jumping activities at home. Draw hopscotch lines, hop like a bunny or jump like a kangaroo. You can even play the floor is lava and let your kids jump from one pillow to another.
Blow bubbles and let your child try to pop them. Your child will have to run, jump and move in different directions. These sudden shifts in weight and balance are an amazing way to practice gross motor skills.
The most important part of development is FUN. Kids learn through play and it is an important motivator to get them moving. Be creative and get moving.
All children develop at their own time, some will reach their developmental milestones earlier than expected, others might take a bit longer. It is important to track your child’s progress and help them develop. If at any stage you feel concerned about your child’s development, consult your paediatrician or clinic for guidance.