The importance of gross motor skills

  • Gross motor skills are skills that are developed through use of the large muscles of the body, giving them the ability required to control these large muscles (mainly arms, legs and torso). Some examples of these are:
    • Crawling
    • Walking
    • Jumping on a trampoline

    Movement, or physical activity, is thus an essential factor in intellectual growth, which depends upon the impressions received from the outside. Through movement we come in contact with external reality, and it is through these contacts that we eventually acquire even abstract ideas

    – Dr Maria Montessori

    So why are these gross motor skills important?

    Besides being necessary to enable children to perform every day functions, gross motor skills also have an impact on other skills as well as having some very important varied benefits. These include:

    1. Developing confidence: if your child is able to partake in activities with other children, it can help boost their self-esteem and confidence.
    2. Stress-reliever: physical activity plays a role in relieving stress and pent up frustration.
    3. Affects ability to perform fine motor skills: being able to maintain the correct posture while performing fine motor skills is important to be able to perform them properly.
    4. Helps in leading a healthy lifestyle: being active and getting exercise is important in maintaining good health.
    5. Develops endurance: children’s bodies aren’t used to performing endurance activities – sitting or walking for long periods of time. Building up muscle strength is important in preparation of these activities, as simple as it may sound.

    How can you help develop these skills?

    In babies, it is important to encourage tummy time, as well as different positions that allow baby to kick and move as much as possible. As babies are able to crawl and start walking, it’s important to allow them to practice these skills rather than spending long periods of time in walking rings or prams. Keeping screen time to a minimum is imperative in allowing little ones to focus on the skills they need to develop, rather than being stationary. There are a wide range of activities for toddlers that you can make use of, these include:

    • Playing catch with other toddlers
    • Swimming
    • Climbing up jungle gyms
    • Wheelbarrow walking (can either support toddler’s legs, or make use of an exercise ball)
    • Simon Says
    • Learning to ride bike (push scooters and balance bikes)
    • Obstacle courses
    • Walking and exploring
    • Walking along the beach
    • Jumping on a trampoline or jumping castle

    There are lots of options out there, and so much that can be done indoors as well for when the weather is ideal!

    1 Comment

    1. This is such a great post for new parents looking how to develop their child’s motor skills! I love that you highlighted why motor skills are important.

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