10 Best Activities To Develop Gross Motor Skills in Toddlers

10 Best Activities To Develop Gross Motor Skills in Toddlers

Watching their toddlers make complex movements is one of the most exciting things for all parents. By the time babies are 12 months old, they should be able to stand on their own and even walk with some support. These actions that help them move are all part of gross motor skills. Engaging toddlers in activities helps them refine their gross motor control and reach milestones on time.

What Are Gross Motor Skills?

The term motor skills refer to your baby’s ability to move his muscles to perform actions. Movements that involve larger actions such as kicking, extending the arms, walking, running and jumping are all gross motor skills. Whenever she picks up things with her fingers or wriggles her toes, those movements are called fine motor skills. Newborn babies aren’t strong or mature enough to make any sort of skilled movements. These develop gradually from the head and neck and move down to the rest of the body. Therefore, you would see that your baby learns to control the neck before her shoulders and back. She will also learn to control her arm before her hands and fingers. This means that her gross motor skills develop before fine motor skills.

The gross motor skills for toddlers mainly involve sitting unsupported, walking with help, grabbing toys out of their reach, and as they get older – walking, hopping, playing with toys and so on. To help build gross motor skills, they need plenty of activities that allow them to move and make coordinated actions.

10 Gross Motor Skills Activities for Toddlers

Here are some physical motor activities that will help your toddler build her gross motor skills:

1. Basketball Game

Your toddler naturally likes to throw things. You can use this reflex to turn it into a fun game with balls and soft toys.

Basketball Game

Things You Need:

  • Plastic balls, soft toys, pillows
  • Laundry basket or her crib will do

How To Do:

  • Gather all the stuff that can be thrown easily by your toddler like plastic balls, lightweight soft toys and pillows.
  • From a distance that’s comfortable to her, hurl these objects into the laundry basket or the crib.
  • Once she observes you doing this, encourage her to throw the ball on her own.
  • Cheer her every time she scores a basket to help her build motor skills and pick up on the concept of the game.

2. Obstacle Course

An obstacle course is one of the best indoor gross motor activities for toddlers who are still crawling. It involves motor control and coordinated activities to play the game.

Things You Need:

How To Do:

  • Make a path using the pillows with the play tunnel at the end.
  • Place some of her toys at the end of the tunnel to keep her interested in the game.
  • After the tunnel, place the play tent with the rest of her toys.
  • Guide her through the course if she gets distracted or confused.

3. Fun With Musical Instruments

Combining musical sounds with motor activity is one of the most fun games your child can play for a long time. It helps build her gross and fine motor skills in a fun way.

Fun With Musical Instruments

Things You Need:

  • Percussion instruments for children such as drums, xylophone, bells, etc

How To Do:

  • Set up musical instruments in her playroom.
  • Pick up the drum stick and show her how to strike on the drum to make sounds.
  • Teach her how to grasp the stick in the right position to strike the instrument.
  • Cheer and encourage her every time she gets it right.

4. Cleaning the Room

Cleaning the room is a great activity to build both gross and fine motor skills in toddlers such as walking, standing and grasping. It will also teach her to pick up her toys and put them at the right place after playtime is over.

Things You Need:

  • Your toddler’s toys, pillows and other items
  • A laundry basket

How To Do:

  • Spread out all the toys and items on the floor.
  • Walk around the room as you instruct your toddler to only pick up the soft toys and drop them in the laundry basket.
  • After soft toys, tell her to pick up the rest and put them in the basket as well.
  • The activity ends when all the items on the floor have been put into the basket.

5. Bubbles Through the Hoop

Soap bubbles are an absolute delight for children, adding a hula hoop makes this one of the most exciting outdoor gross motor activities. This activity builds hand-to-eye coordination along with a number of other essential muscle movements.

Soap Bubbles

Things You Need:

  • Soap bubble maker
  • A hula hoop

How To Do:

  • Your toddler stands three feet ahead of you holding the hula hoop and waiting to catch the bubbles through it.
  • Using the bubble maker, blow out soap bubbles into the air.
  • Your toddler catches as many as she can.

6. Balloon Hockey

Even a simple game of hockey involves a lot of coordination to guide the balls to a goal. This game, while being fun, will improve her motor control and eye coordination over the bat and balloon.

Things You Need:

  • Blown-up balloons
  • Toy hockey sticks
  • Laundry baskets

How To Do:

  • Use the laundry baskets to set goalposts at opposite ends of the room.
  • Blow up a number of balloons of different colours such that they can easily fit into the laundry baskets.
  • Encourage her to guide the balloons to the goalposts.

7. Pushing the Car

A push toy helps toddlers gain better control over walking, especially when they are transitioning from crawling. So if you’re getting your toddler to learn to walk, this is an important game.

Pushing the Car

Things You Need:

  • A wheeled push toy or a push car

How To Do:

  • Instruct your toddler to firmly hold on to the push toy and move it forward.
  • Stand in front of her, and cheer and motivate her.
  • Your spouse can stand behind your toddler to support her from behind.

8. Lightsaber Pretend Battles

A pretend sword battle can be a lot of fun, especially if your kid has seen lightsaber battles in movies. To ensure safety while building motor skills, you need to make the lightsabers out of something harmless.

Things You Need:

  • Swim Noodles
  • Duct tape

How To Do:

  • Cut the pool noodle using a serrated knife to an appropriate size for the lightsaber.
  • Stick duct tape at one end of the lightsaber to make the handle.
  • Engage in a mock lightsaber swordfight with your toddler.

9. Bowling at Home

Bowling is a fairly advanced task suited for older toddlers. If your toddler likes to knock things down, this is the perfect game for her.

Bowling

Things You Need:

  • A bowling set
  • Toys that can stacked up and knocked over such as plastic bricks or Jenga

How To Do:

  • Set up the bowling alley by stacking the pins from the kit at one end of the room.
  • Let your toddler knock them down with a plastic ball.
  • She can also knock down stacked-up bricks along with the bowling pins.

10. Outdoor Frisbee Practice

This is an excellent activity to get your toddler to play outdoors and learn skills such as running, movement coordination and object tracking.

Things You Need:

  • Soft Frisbee

How To Do:

  • This activity is best done on a wide lawn.
  • Make your toddler stand at a distance from you.
  • Throw the frisbee towards her and prompt her to catch it mid-air.

Apart from getting your kid to move around and get some exercise, and developing her gross motor skills, these awesome activities have the added advantage of keeping her away from the screen! You can also get your child an activity box for toddlers and kids, like the FirstCry Intellikit, which packs several learning tools into one box. Colourful worksheets, entertaining games, interesting fact cards – hours and hours of learning fun is guaranteed with an activity box. What’s more, it helps contribute to your child’s overall development and yes, that includes her gross motor skills too!

Simple games and activities can definitely be helpful for your child’s well-being. Make sure you try out these fun and entertaining games with your little one soon!

Also Read:

Activities that are Best for Children with ADHD
Water Play for Babies & Toddlers
Budget Play Activities for Kids