The term gross motor development refers to physical skills that use large body movements. Research has shown that several factors impact gross motor development and that children develop these skills at different rates. Factors include genetics, the child’s vision and hearing, muscle tone, gender, the growth of the child, and their environment. We know that the more opportunities children have to develop both fine and gross motor skills, the faster their capacity increases.
Developmental guidelines, like the ones below, are meant to provide a general overview of ages when children typically begin to explore these skills and in what order. Building a strong foundation of these fundamental movement skills between the ages of 2-7 increases the likelihood of children staying active into adolescence and adulthood.
Age 3 Milestones
-walks on tip toes
Age 4 Milestones-stands on 1 foot for up to 2 seconds
-kicks a ball forward
-begins to explore hopping on one foot
-can stop and change direction while running
Age 5 Milestones
Age 6 Milestones
-jumps over an object taking off and landing with both feet
How can I help my child develop gross motor skills?
- Games like tag are great for children to explore running in several directions while starting, stopping, and dodging! Be creative and let children add their own rules like the floor is lava, freeze tag, or animal tag (move like their favorite animal)!
- Dance parties are a great way to develop balance, coordination, and rhythm! Try giving your child a scarf or tissue to hold as they dance around the room to engage all of their senses.
- Jar of moves! Write down movements on small pieces of paper, crumple them up, and place them into a jar. Encourage your child to choose one and perform that movement around the house. Make sure you take turns!
Note: This information is meant for educational purposes only. Always reach out to your pediatrician, physical or occupational therapist with specific questions and concerns about your child’s development.