How to Develop Gross Motor Skills in Your Toddler?
Created by Sugandha Tiwari Updated on Nov 29, 2021
Everyday your toddler is learning something new and trying it. Earlier he or she started sitting without support and now he has started walking, then running. All this is happening because his or her gross motor skills are developing enabling him or her to do these activities with an ease. So what are these gross motor skills and why are they important. Let’s see.
What Are Gross Motor Skills?
Gross motor (physical) skills are those which require whole body movement and which involve the large muscles of the body to perform everyday functions, such as standing and walking, running and jumping, and sitting upright at the table. They also include eye-hand coordination skills such as throwing, catching, kicking, cycling or swimming.
Importance Of Gross Motor Skills
Just like fine motor skills, gross motor skills are also a crucial part of development. They influence and impact activities of daily living immensely and their proper functioning ensures your child’ s independence and allows him/her to navigate the environment. Furthermore, in different activities like sitting upright with head and back straight, stamina to play and participate in physical exercises and strong muscles to lift and carry heavy objects are all part of gross motor. ALSO READ: Tips to Develop Fine Motor Skill in Toddlers?
What Your Pre-Schooler Is Able To Do By Now?
- Run without falling
- Place self on to a small chair
- Walk up and down the stairs with support
- Avoid objects in their way while running
- Hop and jump
- Skip and bounce
- Stand on one foot for a few seconds
- Pedal a tricycle for a short distance
Activities To Develop Gross Motor Skills
- Dark Room: Hide some objects in the house at safe places and give a torch or flashlight to your toddler, then ask him/her to find hidden objects around the house. This simple mystery game is a lot of fun for your baby. Children love to play games where there is an element of suspense, some thrill and loads of excitement
- Hit the Bull’s eye: Along with thrill and excitement goes challenges. Toddlers are hungry to learn things and get themselves challenged. Create games where you set a target and your toddler has to throw a ball at the target and aim to hit it. You can play indoor basketball with a basket and pieces of crushed newspaper or waster paper balls. The basket can be kept both at a height and on the floor
- Daily Chores: There must be a list of household chores that you would must be performing on an everyday basis. Your toddler would love to help you; Children anyway love to help around. Rope in your toddler in all the possible activities where you think he/she can assist you. This will give him/her a lot of practice to their developing gross motor skills
- Move around, hop, and jump: There are different games for boys and girls. For eg. I am aware of one game for girls in our culture which I have also played a lot in my childhood i.e. Hop scotch or what we call stapoo in hindi. This game gives a lot of practice to the large muscle of specially the lower part of body to move around and stretch. For boys also there are plenty of them, though one thing that would really help both the genders is giving them ample exposure to outdoor play opportunities and encourage them to climb, hop, jump, run and play on swings as much as possible
- Simon Says: One game that I have noticed most of the toddlers enjoy a lot is the game of "Simon Says”. Here the leader gives small – big instructions for children to follow and if the complete word "Simon says for eg. Hop on one leg and touch the white door” is not spoken then there is a little punishment for eg. Tickling. This game can be used to incorporate a lot of physical actions to perform and create body awareness
- Minimum time for gadgets: Needless to say please keep your toddler away from gadgets for most part of the day. From the beginning channelize their mind’s energy towards reading, playing sports or games, participating in peer group activities, nature walks, spending time with grandparents etc. One of the biggest health (physical, mental, emotional and psychological) hazards of the current generation is the over use of gadgets. Replace gadgets with people
- Fun with concepts: Pick up magnet shapes, numbers, letters and words from the market. Play a game where you would stick these pieces on different objects of the house and have a sheet with all this written on it. Have separate sheet for each category. Give your child a sheet one by one and ask him/her to match it by finding it around
- Phonic ball play: So, the game goes like this. Pick up a letter or a word. You say the letter and your child says a word with the ending letter or sound. Second is you say a word and your child says a word that rhymes with it. Take turns to play this. Next, you need to have a ball with you and to have more fun you may want to play it outside. After you say the letter or word you can either throw or kick the ball and your child does the same
These are some of the activities that you can do with your toddler to help him or her to develop gross motor skills.
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