Gross motor skills are abilities that require the use of larger muscles in the torso, arms and legs (whole-body movements) like standing, walking, running, jumping, throwing, lifting and sitting upright at the table. Skills relate to body awareness, reaction speed, balance and strength.
At a Montessori school there are specific activities that we encourage in order to develop these skills, which can quite easily be enacted at home, too. Here are 10 top gross motor skills for children in the early years to practise:
- Roll a mat (typically used for Montessori activities) and put it away
- Walk around a mat
- Carry a chair
- Carry objects and/or liquids on a tray
- Walk or sit on a line, and next to a line
- Stack a tower with blocks
- Clap to music with hands
- Tap to music with sticks
- Dance and sing without falling
- Outdoor play – climbing, swinging, running
This list might be particularly useful if your family is isolating or shielding, or in the case of school lockdown. You could create a checklist and when your little one has achieved a sill, put a star next to it and celebrate the milestone!
Other fun ways to support the development of gross motor skills are dancing, playing on climbing fames, climbing trees, walking up and down hills, helping with chores around the house (sweeping, mopping, wiping counters). You could also set up an obstacle course for your little one, and Yoga is also a great way to strengthen those larger muscles.
We hope you have fun with these!
Photo by Simon Infanger on Unsplash