Gross motor skills are essential for a child’s development. These skills involve using large muscles in the body, and they help children with movement and coordination. Gross motor development is critical to balance, coordination, and connection to other body functions.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss the importance of gross motor development and share some tips on how you can help your child improve these skills. Thanks for reading!
What are Gross Motor Skills?
What do we mean when we say “gross motor skills”? When I think of gross motor skills or development, I think of using our big muscles—legs and arms.
Gross motor skills are the abilities required to control the large muscles of the body for activities such as crawling, walking, running, jumping, and throwing. These skills are important for physical development, coordination, and overall health and well-being.
Gross motor skills are abilities that allow people to do things that involve using the large muscles in the torso, arms, and legs to complete whole-body movements.understood.org
Examples of Gross Motor Skills
Gross motor skill examples include the use of larger muscles. So, consider running, skiing, riding a bike, throwing a baseball, lifting a weight, climbing a rock, jumping rope, and kicking a soccer ball.
Movement, or physical activity, is thus an essential factor in intellectual growth, which depends upon the impressions received from outside. Through movement we come in contact with external reality, and it is through these contacts that we eventually acquire even abstract ideas.~ Dr. Maria Montessori, The Secret of Childhood
Gross Motor Skills Versus Fine Motor Skills
5 Statistics that Prove the Importance of Developing Strong Gross Motor Skills
- Academic Achievement: Research shows that children who possess well-developed gross motor skills tend to perform better academically. A study published in the Journal of School Health revealed that students with higher levels of physical fitness, including gross motor skills, had higher academic achievement scores.
- Social and Emotional Development: Strong gross motor skills play a crucial role in children’s social and emotional development. A study conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics found that children with better motor skills had higher levels of self-confidence, improved social interactions, and better overall emotional well-being.
- Cognitive Skills: Gross motor skills contribute to the enhancement of cognitive abilities in children. A study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found a positive correlation between motor skills and cognitive function, suggesting that improved motor skills can enhance cognitive processing, attention, and memory.
- Physical Health and Fitness: Developing strong gross motor skills in childhood lays the foundation for a healthier and more active lifestyle. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), regular physical activity, including activities that promote gross motor skills, helps children maintain a healthy weight, build strong bones and muscles, and reduce the risk of developing chronic health conditions.
- Overall Development: Gross motor skills are essential for a child’s overall development. The World Health Organization (WHO) emphasizes that these skills are critical for fundamental movement abilities, such as running, jumping, and throwing, which are the building blocks for more complex physical activities later in life. Developing these skills early on sets the stage for future success in sports, recreational activities, and everyday tasks.
Why promote gross motor development?
- Fosters Imagination through Story Telling and Active Play
- Encourages Problem-Solving and Critical Thinking (e.g., how will I climb over this log?)
- Hones Risk Taking Skills
- Ignites a Sense of Awe and Wonder about the Nature World
- Better Sleep
- Happier Children
Gross Motor Skills Activities
- Check out the book The Brain Gym for loads of ideas for indoors and outdoors focusing on movement, using both sides of the brain, and crossing the midline.
- Tree Stumps – the wind knocked down many trees in our area over the last several months. So we took advantage of the cutting and removing of the trees. Our stumps provide so much enjoyment to our sons. It is a little crazy how much they enjoy the straightforward setup.
- Hiking – what better way to develop gross motor skills than to explore the natural playground?
- Rubber Tires – These are new items for us. I am excited to see the boys jump and explore through the course.
- Climbing Trees and Rocks
- Obstacle Course
- Yoga indoors and outdoors (we love these Yoga ABC Cards for Kids)
- Games like freeze tag and hide and seek are great for self-regulation work and brain development.
- Purchase a customizable Play Structure (like our structure from The Kid’s Backyard Store!) that fits your family’s needs & safety
“Since it is through movement that the will realises itself, we should assist a child in his attempts to put his will into act.”~ Dr. Maria Montessori
What activities develop gross motor skills?
The possibilities are endless! Here are a few ideas:
- Jump Rope
- Balance Buckets
- Bucket Stilts
- Use a Bosu Ball
- Ninja Ropes & Obstacle Course
- Martial Arts
- Playing with Balloons
- Scooters & Bikes
Our Play Structure
We searched for the perfect play structure and decided to work with The Kids Backyard Store, which designs residential and commercial play spaces.
Not only are the sets beautifully made, but we also got to customize our play structure to include a rock wall, covered ‘treehouse,’ trapeze bar, slide, and swings, and work with several excellent, friendly installers.
These guys know what they’re doing (and let our boys ‘participate’ in ‘building’ the set, which was an excellent experience in itself). We love the result. Our boys play on the structure every day. I highly recommend The Kids Backyard Store.
More Posts on Gross Motor Development:
- Montessori: Movement (The Brain Gym)
- Walking the Line
- Yoga Books for Children
- The Sensitive Period for Movement – Yoga
- Yoga Resources & Why Yoga is part of our Home
- Culture & Movement Activity for Kids
More About The Kids’ Backyard Store
The Kids’ Backyard Store offers Backyard Adventures’ complete line of premium-quality cedar playsets. These modular play structures are built with the finest materials, including beautiful cedar, unique compression technology, and exclusive features & safety systems developed by Backyard Adventures.
Turn your backyard into the adventure of your kids’ life with themed structures such as the Treehouse Series, Peak Series, Expedition Series, and Explorer Series playsets. Of course, the finest Cedar Swing Set ever made.
Growing children require new challenges, so customize your playsets with many accessories, including swings, slides, rock walls, crawl tubes, and more. All our cedar forts and swing sets are made by the most reputable play structure manufacturer, Backyard Adventures.
The Kids’ Backyard Store also offers cedar sheds by CedarShed Industries and the finest commercial play structures by PlayCraft Systems for apartments, daycare centers, churches, and homeowners associations.