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Gross Motor Skills: Their Critical Importance & 10 At-Home Exercises  

Gross or fine? --I’m talking about motor skills that is. What’s the difference between these two categories of motor skills, and how do we target and exercise each?

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What are Gross Motor Skills? 

Gross motor skills are also known as large motor skills. These skills pertain to the movements involved in the coordination of one’s arms, legs, and large body parts. Gross motor skills include movements such as running, jumping, crawling, swimming, and skipping. Gross motor movements are essential for young children to practice as they eventually learn how to coordinate and move their bodies. These skills contribute to daily tasks such as eating, getting dressed, sitting upright, and picking up toys. Gross motor skills eventually contribute to the development of fine motor skills. 

Gross Motor Skills vs. Fine Motor Skills:  

Often time we see an emphasis on fine motor skill development with gross motor development left behind. Even so, we must encourage our children to practice their gross motor skills through different forms of play. This will lay a solid foundation for all bodily movements. This can be accomplished by understanding the difference between the two skills. Gross motor skills refer to big, large, and whole-body movements whereas, fine motor skills pertain to one’s dexterity, coordination, and control of small muscles such as the arms, wrists, and fingers. 

A Look into Gross Motor Skills Development:

Ultimately, young children need time to practice their gross (or large) motor skills in everyday life. Typically, at age three, children practice their hand-eye coordination and have a better sense of balance. Many children at this age can stand on one foot for a few seconds. At age 4, many children begin to hop on one foot and can catch a ball. At age five, children are more comfortable with their bodies as they learn how to skip and begin to jump rope! As they continue to practice their gross motor abilities improve, children can experience the beginning stages of learning how to skate and swim!  

Gross Motor Activities for The Home: 

With the rise of passive technology and the sole focus on academic achievement, gross motor development is overlooked. Check out these ten gross motor activities you and your child can do at home: 

  1. Crawl or walk over different pillows 
  1. Kick a balloon against a wall  
  1. Practice walking like animals Walk It like an Animal (Official Video) 
  1. Blow and catch bubbles!
Ready To Help Your Child Improve Their Grades, Test Scores And Confidence?
  1. Listen to music and move around 
  1. The Floor is Lava! The Floor Is Lava | The Kiboomers | Kids Dance Songs | Dance Music | Kids Songs | Kindergarten 
  1. Climb stairs 
  1. Play Simon Says Simon Says Song for Children (Official Video) by Miss Patty 
  1. Toss and throw socks 
  1. Create an indoor obstacle course 

Outdoor Gross Motor Activities:

The American Heart Association recommends a daily dose of at least 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity for children ages six to seventeen years old. Check out these 10 amazing outdoor gross motor activities: 

  1. Play Hopscotch  
  1. Play Hide and Go Seek 
  1. Go to an Outdoor Obstacle Course 
  1. Hula Hoop 
  1. Ride a Scooter 
  1. Play Catch 
  1. Practice Dribbling a Ball 
  1. Kick a Soccer Ball 
  1. Play Hot Potatoe 
  1. Play Hide and Seek 

Overall, supporting your child’s gross motor skills is imperative for child development. Together we can work and play alongside our children as they explore and make meaning. By supporting gross motor skills and development we are promoting our child’s success as they participate in activities and engage with their peers. We cannot allow our children to fall behind on the crucial skills of gross motor development!   

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