With the hustle and bustle of daily life, it can be hard to make sure our toddlers are getting enough physical activity. However, encouraging your children to engage in gross and fine motor activities is super important for promoting healthy development.
Gross motor skills involve the large muscles of the body that help us move and maintain our balance, like walking, running, jumping, and throwing. With these abilities, children develop better coordination, strength, and control over their bodies and movements.
If your child needs a little extra practice with their gross motor skills, try implementing some of these activities into your daily routine!
Gross Motor Skills Examples
As children progress through the gross motor milestones, you will see them develop more and more control over their movements.
Here are a few examples of basic gross motor skills:
- Pushing and pulling toys
- Walking on tippy toes
- Walking up and down stairs
- Riding a tricycle
While every child has their own timeline for development, it is important that we create an environment where our children can play and develop.
Importance of Gross Motor Skills in Child Development
When children don’t get enough physical practice with gross motor skills, they will only learn how to run, skip, or jump on a very basic level. Without adequate practice, they won’t develop the confidence they need to truly master and feel confident with these movements.
A child who feels awkward when they run or jump will most likely try to avoid engaging in friendly games like hopscotch or tag with friends and peers.
A child who is confident with their skills is going to happily engage in these games and further develop their gross motor movements.
The 12 Best Gross Motor Activities for Toddlers
I know it can be a daunting task to try and make sure your child is getting enough physical activity every day, but I am here to make your life easier!
Here is a list of 12 cheap and easy gross motor activities to help your child develop to their fullest potential!
1) Simon Says
This classic game is perfect for toddlers. It helps them develop their listening and gross motor skills. Simply call out actions such as “Simon says jump!”, “Simon says run in circles!”, and have your toddler follow along.
2) Obstacle Course
Create an obstacle course in your living room using pillows, boxes, and other objects. This will challenge your toddler’s gross motor skills as they crawl, climb, and jump over the obstacles.
3) Balloon Volleyball
Blow up a balloon and hit it back and forth with your toddler. This is a fun way to improve hand-eye coordination and get moving. If you count the number of times you hit the balloon in the air, it can also be a great counting activity!
4) Follow the Leader
This classic game is simple but fun. Have your toddler mimic the movements you make, like crawling, skipping, or hopping on one leg. This will encourage them to use gross motor skills!
5) Animal Walks
Challenge your toddler to act like different animals while they move around the living room. Have them crawl like a bear, hop like a bunny, or slither like a snake. Your toddlers can also choose their favorite animal and act it out!
6) “The floor is lava!” Game
I have to admit, this was one of my favorite games growing up! My sister and I would work as a team to find anything within reach (books, pillows, blankets) to step on and try to make it all the way across our living room floor without touching the ground.
7) Scavenger Hunt
Hide items around the house or backyard and have your toddler go on a scavenger hunt to find them. This activity improves their gross motor skills and promotes problem-solving
Playing kickball is a popular activity that improves gross motor skills, coordination, and balance. You and your toddler can have fun kicking the giant ball back and forth in the backyard.
9) Dance Party
Put on some upbeat music and have a dance party with your toddler. Encourage them to jump, spin, and move their body to the beat. Songs like “The Electric Slide” or “Hokey Pokey” are also really great to help with listening skills and improve coordination.
9) Hula Hooping
Get a hula hoop and show your toddler how to use it. This is a great way to improve their core strength and balance. You can also show your toddler other ways to use the hula hoop such as swirling it around your arm or using it as a “jump rope”.
10) Stair Climbing
We all know that toddlers love trying to go up and down the stairs. So, you might as well use this to your advantage! Stair climbing is a great way to improve leg strength, coordination, and cardiovascular health.
11) Relay Races
Set up a relay race with your toddler and other family members. This will encourage teamwork and develop gross motor skills as they run, jump, and pass objects.
Draw a hopscotch board on your driveway or sidewalk and have your toddler hop and jump from square to square. This activity will challenge their coordination, balance, and agility.
Helping Your Child Develop Through Play
Gross motor skills are an important part of your toddler’s development. Encouraging them to participate in gross motor activities can help them reach their full potential. You don’t need to spend a lot of money or buy expensive equipment. All you need is some creativity and the 12 activities listed above! Have fun helping your child develop through play!