From birth and throughout their early childhood, children develop certain skills and abilities that help them survive in the outside world, relate to others and so on. There are two main types of skills that children should acquire during these first years: gross motor skills and fine motor skills.
The former are related to your child’s ability to coordinate accurately his different body parts and movements so that he does not behave or move in a clumsy manner. Needless to say, not all children are born equally coordinated, just as not all of them will have a nice voice and become famous singers or have the ability to master a soccer ball and become the next football star. However, your child’s gross motor skills can be improved.
Before we share with you six ways to help your child’s gross motor skills, let’s discuss first which abilities are included in them. Simply speaking, the gross motor skills can be defined as the abilities needed in order to control the large muscles of the body. They allow your child to crawl, climb, sit, stand up, run and even help you with easy household chores like picking up the laundry or setting the table.
Amongst the gross motor skills we can mention:
Coordination of the main body muscles
Now, let’s jump ahead first to the different activities you can share with your child in order to improve these abilities:
PLAY SIMON SAYS!!: It is one of the most popular and amusing games for children, and your child will definitely love it. Start with simple instructions such as “Simon says, ‘Touch your nose’” or “Simon says, ‘Run to the door’”. As your child can follow them properly, introduce some more complex ones such as, “Simon says, ‘Stand on the left of the chair’” or “Simon says, ‘Jump on your right foot five times’.
BIKE RIDING: Whether it is an ordinary bike, a push bike or a tricycle, encouraging your child to ride it can definitely improve his gross motor skills. If your child is too young or does not feel confident enough, it is OK for him to rely on training wheels to help him keep the balance with his bike. In a few weeks or months, he will be ready to take them off.
PLAY WITH A BALL: Whenever you go to the park or if you have a garden or patio where you can play with a ball safely without breaking any window glass, take a ball with you. Make sure it is not too small so that your child can’t see it, nor too big so that it may hurt your child. Ask your child to kick the ball with his left foot first and then with the right one, and to throw it to you and to catch it back and so on.
PLAY ACTION GAMES: Train your child’s gross motor skills related to spatial coordination by instructing him to stand behind a chair, in front of a chair, on the chair and so on.
FIND HIGH QUALITY ACTIVE TOYS: These encourage children 18 months or older to develop and improve their gross motor skills as well as their curiosity. We have a whole range of toys HERE.
SING ACTION SONGS!: From the popular “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” to “Clap, Clap, Clap Your Hands” there are hundreds of action songs you can sing with your child as you encourage him to imitate your movements. This is great for every age group - young ones love the songs and you create a habit of singing, while older kids will love following along with the actions. We sing Old MacDonald, but instead of just noises, we act like the animals too!
As you can see, there are a bunch of activities that help stimulate and develop your childs gross motor skills. If you have any more ideas feel free to let us know!