Building Gross Motor Skills in Early Years

What is Gross motor skills and why is it so important you ask?

Gross motor skills are the abilities usually acquired during infancy and early childhood as part of a child’s motor development. By the time they reach two years of age, almost all children are able to stand up, walk and run, walk up stairs, etc. These skills are built upon, improved and better controlled throughout early childhood, and continue in refinement throughout most of the individual’s years of development into adulthood. 

In the early years children love to try new things as parents we always want to protect our children. However experimenting in a safe, controlled environment is when they learn their boundaries. If a child is taught boundaries through safe experiments for example climbing a frame/ safe tree (if available/allowed) with a guardian present then the child learns its boundaries at a young age. Balancing on one leg similar to yoga poses is a great way to build confidence in your child.

Depending on climate children can be outside exploring their environment at the local park, indoor play area, pool, beach, backyard and many more areas. Developing their gross motor skills whether it be throwing a ball, jumping, running, balancing skipping, climbing or many more activities.

Similar to sensory play children learn the following skills from gross motor skills;

  • Language development

Chatting about the games they are playing or activities they have completed they are creating different experiences to talk about developing language and increasing their vocabulary.

  • Social and Emotional development

Gross motor skill development allows children to use their decision making skills by choosing what they will create and how they will play the game, who will play with them, how far to jump, skip, balance, run. Again similar to sensory play they take pride in their predications, whilst making observations and respond to their findings. They can also express their feeling through play with peers, teachers, friends, guardians, family and many more, testing their boundaries in a safe environment as well as experimenting with concepts.

  • Physical Development

Whilst practising their gross motor skills children develop their skills helping to build children’s muscle strength, balance and coordination.

  • Creative Development

Games, activities developing gross motor skills are  open ended, children can express their creativity and innovate how they feel. Which is necessary in order to complete a task given by a teacher/parent/guardian.When children make up the games and work in teams it is a great way for their peers to develop gross motor  skills.

Websites and activities to look at for ideas:

Parentteachplay great site with 40 indoor and 40 outdoor activities to play

Pinterest great ideas for activities from other parents, teachers and industry professionals look at the different bean bags, games, scooters, wheelies, balancing activities. (Contact the office to find a local distributor in your region)

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Rick Howard says:

    Reblogged this on youth centered sports and fitness and commented:
    Great primer on gross motor skills and why thy are so important to develop in infancy and early childhood!


    1. Rick, love researching and discussion the importance of teaching gross motor skills especially in foundation stages, love to read your research and articles.


  2. Cindy says:

    Great article. Gross motor skills are often overlooked especially if a child doesn’t get physical education in the primary grades. Children need to be taught how to skip, jump rope, throw, etc., and they need to have plenty of opportunities to practice.

    Liked by 1 person

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