Gross Motor Skill Activities
- Make available toys or items that your child can push around, helping them to improve their balance and walking skills.
- When taking a walk with a stroller, have your child practice pushing the stroller in a grassy area, rather than riding. This activity will improve their body control specifically in their arms.
- Teach your child to rock back and forth in a rocking chair, a rocking horse, or simply sitting on your lap with their back against your chest. You can also rock back and forth on the floor holding hands while singing “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” while you’re gently pushing and pulling each other back and forth. Rocking skills can help with balance, body control, and build stomach muscles.
- While holding your child’s hands, begin to help them jump off of a low step or stool to help them learn how to jump. This will strengthen leg muscles and improve balance.
- Hold both of your child’s hands and help them to “jump” over a small toy on the floor or over a stick on the sidewalk.
- Set up empty plastic cups in a pyramid and encourage them to go “bowling” to knock them over. You can also purchase inexpensive bowling sets. This helps the child begin to gain control over their arm muscles with a focused point to aim.
- Teach your child to “walk on a balance beam” with one foot in front of the other. This can be done on a curb outside, a line on a tile floor, or any other narrow beam. This will help improve your child’s balance and learn to center their body control.
- Practice walking up and down stairs. Begin with walking up the stairs, as walking down stairs takes more body control and balance. If you do not have stairs in your home visit the park to practice!
- Use musical instruments or make shift instruments with pots and pans to teach your child to drum, shake, and bang. All of these work on arm muscles and develop coordination as well.
- Dancing. Practice clapping hands, stomping feet, jumping, twisting, turning, bouncing, to music your child enjoys. You can also play along with instruments or wave scarves as you dance. Dancing and all its movements can help improve muscle development, coordination, body control, in a way that is sure to bring everyone to giggles!
- Play basketball! Toss balls or bean bags into different baskets, hoops, boxes or cups. Doing so will improve arm muscles and coordination.
- Around 18 months children are able to balance on one foot in order to kick a ball. Take your child outside and play soccer kicking a ball back and forth or into a small goal. This will continue to improve their balance and body control.
- Chase one another around outdoors or in your home. Let your child catch you then sweep them up to tickle them! Running is a great way to work on balance and body control.
- Wagon rides. Have your child give their stuffed animals a short wagon ride around outside, or inside by tying a rope to a box for them to pull around. This will strengthen your child’s arm muscles and body control while they pull the wagon in different directions
*As their Gross Motor Skills are strengthening, you want to begin incorporating more Fine Motor Skill Activities into their routine.
If you are worried that your child is not able to do the above activities at the appropriate age range, speak with your pediatrician and check out earlyinterventionsupport.com for more resources!