Gross Motor Skill Development In Your Children

Gross motor skills are important to enable active participation in everyday activities and functions such as:

  • Walking and running
  • Playground skills of climbing
  • Sporting skills of catching, kicking, hitting a ball with a bat
  • Self-care and hygiene (dressing, showering, getting on/off the toilet)
  • Maintaining appropriate tabletop postures and performing fine motor skills of writing, drawing, scissor cutting and eating

Gross Motor Milestones

2-3 months: lifting head whilst positioned on the tummy.

4-6 months: rolling.

7-12 months: independently moving in and out of sitting, able to play unsupported in sitting, crawling.

9-15 months: pull to stand, cruises along the furniture.

9-18 months: play in standing, walking.

2-3 years: walk up and down stairs holding on, kicks a large ball, catches the large ball between arms and body.

3-4 years: running, tricycle riding, able to run onto a medium-sized ball and kick, throw beanbags to a target.

4-5 years: jumping, hopping, achieve heel-toe gait, walk backwards on balance board, balance for 8-10 seconds on one leg, ride a 2 wheeler bike with trainer-wheels.

5-6 years: run up and downstairs, able to throw/bounce the ball to self and catch.

What difficulty looks like

  • Disinterest in play or activities
  • Silly task performance or appear clumsily
  • Unable to follow multistep activities (completing an obstacle course)
  • Unable to plan or correctly sequence multistep tasks (e.g step then throw)
  • Only participate in activity for a short period of time, tire quickly

Play and Activity Idea

  • Squatting down to pick up leaves/rocks or toys: this strengthens the muscles of the legs and feet
  • Throwing a large ball or balloon: once this task is mastered then try with a smaller ball or tennis ball
  • Obstacle course to challenge balance: walking on pillows, balance beams and across stepping stones
  • Wheelbarrow walks to improve upper body and core strength Jumping/walking/crawling like different animals: frog and kangaroo jumping, crawling like a bear or a crab
  • A yoga-based movement to improve posture and balance
  • Outdoor play equipment involving slides, climbing, balancing and motor planning and coordination.


1. The floor is the best place for your baby to learn to move. This is where they will learn to develop their muscles and skills to roll, sit and walkers.

2. Baby walkers:

  • will not teach your baby to walk
  • are not recommended for safety and developmental reasons
  • place babies in an unnatural standing position, and deny opportunities for crawling and pulling up
  • they can also encourage a child to begin walking on their toes.

3. Jollyjumpers are not recommended as they promote jumping on toes rather than flat feet and can facilitate toe walking.

4. Push toy – once able to stand and squat try introducing a push toy as they develop strength, balance, coordination and confidence when your child is starting to walk.

Article References
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