10 Ways to Help Your Toddler Develop Better Gross Motor Skills

gross motor skills for toddlers

As a parent, it’s your responsibility to help your toddler learn new skills every day. Baby steps have to start somewhere. Just as a baby learns to crawl and walk before they know how to talk, your toddler must develop better gross motor skills before they can go on to improve other areas of development. If you want your little one to develop fully, it’s going to take some time and a lot of hard work.

Gross motor skills for toddlers involve large muscle groups in the body, such as the arms and legs, to produce larger movements. They’re the first to develop in infants and toddlers, which means they’ll help your little one learn basic skills such as crawling, walking, running, jumping, etc. 

Fine motor skills involve smaller muscle groups such as fingers or toes and hand-eye coordination. These skills usually don’t develop until around three but play an important role in many milestones later in life, such as learning to write their name or tying their shoelaces! So now you know what gross and fine motor skills are (and why they’re so important), let’s look at some ways you can help your toddler develop better at home.

In this article, we are going to give you some practical ways that you can help your toddler develop better gross motor skills with these fun and simple activities.

10 Ways for Developing your Toddler’s Gross Motor Skills

Physical activity may vary from child to child. If you want your toddler’s learning to be effective, it’s essential that you set the right standards. There are many games and fun activities that you can use to help develop better gross motor skills for toddlers.

1. Tummy Time

tummy time

Tummy time is the perfect way to give your toddler’s neck, upper body, and arm muscles a good workout. By providing your little one time on her tummy every day, you can help her strengthen these important areas of her body so she can achieve all of those gross motor milestones right around the corner. Each time you laid your baby on their tummy, you were helping her develop muscle tone and core strength.

Tummy Time Benefits:

  • Strengthening upper body: Tummy time helps develop one of the most important muscles in your baby’s body—the neck extensors. These muscles allow babies to lift their heads and look around on tummies. They also help with smiling, talking, and chewing food later on down the road when toddlers master these skills!
  •  Strengthening arms: Upper body strength is essential in helping your baby’s arm muscles become stronger. As toddlers get older, they will use their arms a lot more. 
  • Strengthening core muscles: Tummy time can also help support the deep abdominal core muscles needed for proper posture and lifting the head while sitting up.

2. Couch Climbing

couch climbing

Climbing on the couch is fun for your toddler, but you must be careful. Make sure that no hard or sharp objects could cause injury. It’s also a good practice to help keep your little one safe from falling from the couch. This a great activities to develop better gross motor skills for toddlers.

Climbing on the Cushion Benefits:

  • Strengthening legs: The climbing motion is a great way to help your toddler improve his leg muscles. As he ages, this will be essential for running, jumping, and walking.
  • Enhances upper body muscles: As your little one works on climbing the couch cushions, he will also give his arm and shoulder muscles a workout.
  • Enhances balance: Children must develop good balance quickly before transitioning into walking and running. Climbing on the couch cushions will help your toddler improve his sense of balance, which can help strengthen his posture in the long run.
  • Develops coordination: As you work with your toddler to climb, he will also be learning to coordinate his movements so he can climb properly. Over time, this will also help improve his gross motor skills when taking first steps, climbing stairs, and more.

3. Obstacle Courses

gross motor skills for toddlers

Developing gross motor skills for toddlers through obstacle courses is fun. The good thing about obstacle courses is that you can make them any way you want. They’re not just for the playground, either! You can place obstacles in your home or create a course in the backyard.

It develops your toddler’s gross motor skills because:

  • It helps build muscle strength: As your child climbs, crawls, and jumps over the various obstacles, he will also get a workout in his arms, legs, and stomach muscles. This will be important as he learns how to walk, run, and jump on his own in the future.
  •  It helps him improve his sense of balance: Obstacle courses are a great way to help your toddler develop a good weight. As he navigates through the course, he will learn how to use and coordinate his body movements to overcome obstacles and improve his sense of balance.
  • It helps him work on coordination: Obstacle courses are also a fun way to help your little one develop coordination skills. They will need coordination skills from playing these games when first learning how to walk.

4. Dancing Now – New Fun!

dancing now

Learning to dance is a great way to help develop gross motor skills for toddlers. Dancing can help build coordination and muscle strength and is a great way for parents to bond with their toddlers.

It helps build up arm, leg, and core strength. As your little one ages, he will spend a lot of time dancing. He will need to coordinate his movements to learn how to dance well. This will help him with his gross and fine motor skills as he moves on to the next stage of development.

5. Limit Screen Time for Better Gross Motor Skills

limit screen time

Limit screen time for your toddler’s gross motor skills to help him develop better. Many studies show that too much screen time can lead to poor development of gross motor skills for toddlers, even caries. 

These include:

  • Children who watch TV or play video games are not very active. They’re just sitting there, which isn’t good for building muscles and coordination.
  • It also does not build social skills. Too much screen time prevents children from interacting with others and developing social skills.
  • It can cause obesity. In addition to poor gross motor skills development, excessive screen time can lead to obesity as well. This is because kids who spend too much time in front of the computer or playing video games are often not very active, so they don’t burn off all that excess energy.

6. Play with Balls

gross motor skills for toddlers

Balls are a great way to help develop gross motor skills for toddlers. They’re fun and interactive, perfect for hand-eye coordination, and can provide hours of entertainment. You can play catch with a ball, use it in different games (ring toss) or even teach your child about colors or shapes by using the ball as an example.

Playing ball is also an excellent way for parents and kids alike to work on color identification skills—and why wouldn’t we want all our little ones thinking about colors all day long?

7. Get Outside

playing outside

Getting outside is a great way to develop gross motor skills for toddlers. He’ll have lots of fun playing and running outdoors and learning about nature and the world around him. It will help build their muscles and coordination skills as they explore the outdoors on their own two feet.

Walking, running, and jumping is integral parts of gross motor skills, so if your toddler wants to play outside, make sure he has a safe place. In addition to your backyard, consider visiting local parks or attending a baby gym class for more opportunities for outdoor playtime.

8. Games and Crafts

gross motor skills for toddlers

Cognitive skills are another important aspect of gross motor skills development, and many games and arts and crafts allow your child to learn more about the world around them. Some of these activities help to develop fine motor skills, which are also necessary for gross motor skills development.

Some games that can help develop gross motor skills include:

– Building blocks

– Games with balls (soccer, catch, etc. )

– Pretend to play at doctor’s offices and grocery stores

– Games with bubbles

– Create and play with homemade toys

– Play dress up

Board Games

– Hopscotch and Jump rope (both excellent for developing balance and coordination!)

9. Use Incentives

use incentives

Give your toddler an incentive to engage in physical activities of his own choice, such as running, jumping, skipping, throwing, kicking, etc. For example, give him a lollipop when he can initially do something he has difficulty doing. When he gets better at it, let him have the lollipop when he is done. Incentives help to keep your toddler motivated to engage in physical activities.

10. Make it Fun 

playing with your child

When engaging in gross motor activities with your toddler, do so in a fun way. Come up with your games, and engage him in funny exercises. This will keep him interested and make the whole activity fun.

Performing everyday activities with your toddler will help him learn to use his gross motor skills more efficiently. He needs to be able to do things on his own, and he needs to be able to understand what is expected of him without you having to explain it all the time.

Final Thoughts

The earlier you start to improve gross motor skills, the better. You should be doing a daily activity with your toddler that involves gross motor skills development. Start with some of the ideas above, or try something new. You might not think it will do much, but any activity that improves balance, coordination, and muscle strength benefits his overall development.

Are you interested in improving your child’s gross motor skills? Montessori Academy offers programs that will help you do just that!

We offer coursework on various topics that can help your child improve their gross motor skills development. Montessori Academy is an accredited Montessori school, and we offer programs for your child that will help him learn to think, explore and develop his gross motor skills.

Montessori provides a safe space in which children can grow and mature on their terms. We pride ourselves on our highly qualified teachers who are leaders in Montessori education, have many years of experience working with children with special needs, and care deeply about each child’s personal growth.
For further assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We would love to hear from you!


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