Have you wondered why your pediatrician’s office hands you a questionnaire that asks you to indicate your child’s abilities with speech, movement and coordination?
This is to make you aware that observing their development, especially in the early years, helps identify any areas that may be of concern if not met at the usual milestones.
One of those key areas to observe are their gross motor skills.
Your child’s gross motor skills develop everyday as they grow and move to figure out the world around them. When they bring toys to their mouth, pull on the couch to stand up, or even help straighten their bed, infants and children are constantly using their arms, legs and core muscles.
Gross motor skills are big body movements that support accomplishing big tasks, hobbies and activities. They are especially important so that our kids grow and explore with ease and coordination.
These types of tasks are so important to not only a child’s physical experiences, but also their ability to feel belonging, their positive mental state that promotes encouragement and confidence. We see this through play, like a dance party, bowling, or jumping rope.
If infants and children are behind or have asymmetries in their gross motor developments, that is when we see delays in crawling, walking and play.
Delays in gross motor skills have negative impacts on coordination and cognitive development because infants and children learn through play and discovery.
Throughout different stages of your child’s development, different skills will become easier for the good majority. However, roughly 5% of children experience gross motor delays.
When we see our children face challenges we have the ability to seek help and resources. That is why our Pediatric Physical Therapist recommends these FUN and EASY activities below.
6 EASY and FUN Activities to Support Your Toddler’s Gross Motor Development
- Child Yoga Poses: Rock Pose: form a ball crunched down all the way! Tree Pose: Balance on one leg with the other foot grasping the calf and arms up and outward like branches. Airplane Pose: Arms in a T position while balancing on one leg with the other leg sticking back, straight and upwards as you lean forward. Cat/Cow pose: on all fours, curved spine up toward ceiling – cat, belly falling toward ground and head and chin upward like a cow.
- Ball toss into a hole cut into a box: Use recycling and cut a large hole (or holes of different sizes). Instruct your child to step and throw the ball into the hole.
- Crab Walk/Bunny Hop: Pick a reasonable distance in the room and pick crab walk then when you say SWITCH, have your child stand up and bunny hop! Think interval training and direction following for this one.
- High to low! Place objects like a basket of toy cars, blocks, or stuffed animals on an elevated shelf. Have your child reach up and grab one-at-a-time and place objects in a box on the ground.
- Bowling: Using a ball and a stack of toilet paper or paper towel rolls, instruct your little one to step and roll the ball into the stack to knock it down.
- Dead bugs: A child favorite and great for adults too, have your child lay on their back with knees bent and arms elevated straight above shoulders. Reach one arm back all while the opposing leg reaches outward as well. Then, bring the arm and leg back toward the center and repeat on the other side.
Feel like your child may need an evaluation or practice with their gross motor skills? We can help @ Thrive Pediatrics.