As your baby grows and begins exploring the world around them, their gross motor skills will help them investigate and make sense of their surroundings. Gross motor skills are one of the first techniques that toddlers will add to their repertoire and will continue building on throughout the rest of their lives.
Gross motor skills refer to anything that includes using large muscles in the body, unlike fine motor skills, which involves movements using the smaller muscles in the hands and wrists. Gross motor skills involve using the core muscles and muscles in the arms and legs such as walking, running, jumping, lifting and kicking. Once your child is mastering these skills, they are also developing their balance, coordination, hand-eye coordination and strengthening the neural pathways in their brain.
“Gross motor skills are abilities that let us do tasks that involve large muscles in our torso, legs, and arms. They involve whole-body movements…Most people use these skills easily and automatically, but gross motor skills are more complex than they might seem. They involve the coordination of the muscles and the neurological system. They impact balance and coordination. They also form the basis for fine motor skills that help us make small movements like using a pencil.”
Says writer Gail Belsky and Occupational Therapy specialist Keri Wilmot.
You can encourage your child’s gross motor skills at all ages through a variety of fun and engaging activities both at home and at nursery. For example, through regular outdoor activities such as playing catch, football, obstacle courses or scavenger hunt.