Are you looking for some gross motor activities for toddlers that will not only be fun, but educational too? Knowing how to improve your child’s gross motor skills might feel challenging at first, but it really doesn’t have to be. Here are some ideas that you might like to try with your little one.
What Are Gross Motor Activities for Toddlers?
Gross motor skills are the skills that your child learns to develop by using their entire body. In other words, they are ‘big’ muscle movements.
When your child is still a baby, their gross motor skills will take the shape of trying to move autonomously by rolling over. In slightly older children, gross motor skills for toddlers include learning how to coordinate their body movements in conjunction with one another.
Why Are Gross Motor Skills Important?
Being able to perform gross motor skills has an incredibly important role to play in helping children to become not only more flexible and agile, but more confident too.
Do bear in mind that while confidence in their gross motor skills and actions is the goal, not every child will develop at the same rate, and children of the same age may have differences in movement and coordination to quite some degree.
Patience is key and knowing how to improve your child’s gross motor skills also means understanding when they need help and encouragement from you.
Gross Motor Skills for Toddlers Include:
What’s the Difference Between Fine and Gross Motor Skills?
As we see from the list above, gross motor skills for toddlers include big muscle actions: toddling – leading to walking then running. Climbing, not only stairs but also playground equipment, and lifting everything from toys to larger, heavier items.
In contrast to this, fine motor skills use smaller muscles – and therefore smaller actions – such as gripping, moving objects such as those in a post box game, dressing a doll or teddy, playing with lego or building blocks, and drawing (AKA scribbling!)
6 Gross Motor Activities for Toddlers to Try
If you want to know how to improve your toddler’s gross motor skills, you’ll need to start getting physical. Interactive play is a hugely important part of helping young children develop their gross motor skills.
We’ve come up with six fun activities for you and your toddler to try.
Let’s start with a childhood classic! Who among us didn’t love the whole ritual of drawing the hopscotch grid on the playground, picking a stone to use as a counter, and then taking our turn to hop our way up the board?
It may be an oldie, but hopscotch is still a goodie when it comes to improving a child’s gross motor skills. And it’s not just the hopping that counts – it’s the drawing of the chalk lines on a large scale and the throwing of the stones too.
Children of all ages at Little Angels love our music lessons. They’re fun, they’re interactive and they’re most definitely noisy! Music lessons instill confidence and creativity in children from a young age, and at our nursery, little ones are also encouraged to sing along and dance to the music.
As adults we know how much fun and freedom we feel from the physical act of dancing – and children are no different. But not only will they be learning how to express themselves, they’ll also be engaging in a gross motor activity that will help them use almost every muscle group in their body.
The trampoline is a great way to help your toddler improve their gross motor skills while also having oodles of fun. The big, extravagant movements involved in trampolining make it a perfect gross motor activity. It’s also a great way of getting your little one interested in exercise and demonstrating to them the importance of keeping fit.
And trampoline play doesn’t have to be exclusive only to those with sizable back gardens, as a quick Google search should provide you with a list of trampoline parks in your local area. Hey presto: that’s an idea for a day out treat sorted!
Yoga has many wonderful benefits for children of all ages. Physically, it helps to create flexibility, strength and balance, and it is also a useful technique for helping stressed, over-excited or hyperactive children relax and wind down.
And of course, thanks to its moves and stretches, yoga is also one of the gross motor activities for toddlers that we highly recommend. So much so, in fact, that at Little Angels, we offer yoga classes for children as part of our extra-curricular program.
– Obstacle Courses
The great thing about obstacle courses is that you can make them as elaborate or as simple as time, space, equipment and your child’s development require. You can also build in certain activities that you think will improve your child’s gross motor skills in areas that need particular attention.
For example, jumping, skipping, running, jumping jacks, or crawling through hoops are all good fun – and a great workout for your toddler too! Best of all, if the weather’s nice and if you have one, you can always rely on your local play area’s obstacle course or climbing nets and frames for fuss-free entertainment.
There was a time when the only scooter-users were children under a certain age, however, these days it feels like the whole country is buzzing around on a little platform affixed to two wheels! But whatever your views on adult scooters may be, they’re still an excellent way for children to practice their gross motor skills.
Balance, of course, is put to the test but those big scoots involved in propelling the scooter along will really get little muscles moving and help children develop their gross motor skills.
How to Improve Your Child’s Gross Motor Skills at Little Angels
At Little Angels we take your child’s development incredibly seriously. We want the best for all the children entrusted to our care and, additionally, we take a real joy in seeing them understand new concepts and reach new milestones.
With ten-plus years of experience in caring for young children to our name, we ensure that your child is engaged and stimulated while at nursery. We nourish both fine and gross motor skills for toddlers through our fun and educational activities to help them achieve their milestones.
If you’d like to find out more about our Perkins Square nursery, download our brochure today.