Gross Motor Skills

What are Gross Motor Skills?

Gross motor function is a child’s ability to manipulate and control large movements, especially trunk, arm and leg movements. It includes traveling movements (such as crawling and walking) as well as the ability to balance, build
muscle tone and strength.

Why are Gross Motor Skills important?

Physical strength enables children to move and act freely and confidently. There is a connection between gross motor development and growth in social-emotional and cognitive areas of development (Puckett, Black & Mariority, 2007).

Interlimb coordination is linked to the development of many daily life skills, complex movement behaviors and academic performance (Bobbio, Gabbard & Cacola, 2009). The spatial reasoning, patterns and sequencing skills required for throwing a ball or other movement-based activities build skills in math and logic.

Furthermore, as their gross motor skills develop, children learn that the way we choose to coordinate our movements ultimately communicates our emotions, ideas and nonverbal messages (Stork & Sanders, 2008).

How Do Children Learn Gross Motor Skills Over Time?

Infants develop gross motor skills as they kick or grab from a seated or lying position and pull themselves into a standing position.

Toddlers explore walking and climbing. They build motor development by carrying, dragging, kicking or tossing objects in an intended direction.

Preschoolers begin to balance and hop on one foot and throw objects using both overhand and underhand techniques. They will be able to coordinate multiple movements in a simple sequence.

Primary schoolers start to leap and balance on a variety of objects. With practice, they begin to kick or strike moving objects with aim and accuracy.

They strengthen muscles and increase endurance and coordinate multiple complex movements in continuous play.

Our integrated curriculum system uniquely weaves 35 research-based skills into playful games and discovery projects. The cross-disciplinary model supports a child’s on-going social-emotional, physical, language and cognitive development. See what children learn through play and download the Developmental Continuum of Skills.