Gross Motor Skill: Overview, Importance, Development, Examples

Let’s discuss gross motor skills, the secret to unlocking a child’s boundless energy and enthusiasm! These abilities help kids control their large muscles to perform physical activities like running, jumping, and climbing. They’re like the superhero powers that let children take on the world around them!

As kids grow, their gross motor skills develop and improve. They learn to use their bodies differently, from simple crawling and walking to more complex activities like skipping, hopping, and balancing.

And in this article, we’ll explore the importance, development, and many examples of gross motor skills, sorted by age group, from infants to primary school kids.

So whether your child is just starting their gross motor skill journey or is already a seasoned pro, read on to discover the exciting world of physical activity and play!

Importance of Gross Motor Skills

Physical fitness

Kids can maintain their fitness levels and strengthen their bodies by engaging in activities that promote gross motor skills.

Running, jumping, and other physical activities also provide cardiovascular exercise that keeps their hearts healthy. This way, they can grow up to be active and healthy adults.


Gross motor skills teach children to coordinate their movements, crucial for developing motor planning and spatial awareness.

They learn to use different body parts in unison, like running, jumping, or catching a ball. With practice, they become more skilled and coordinated in their movements.


When children master new gross motor skills, it boosts their confidence and self-esteem. They feel proud of their abilities, and this positive reinforcement encourages them to try new things.

Over time, their confidence grows, and they develop a “can-do” attitude that helps them take on other challenges in life.


Participating in physical activities is not only beneficial for physical health but also for socialization. Kids learn to interact with others, communicate effectively, and work together as a team.

They also learn valuable life skills such as taking turns, sharing, and following rules. These social skills will help them form lasting friendships and navigate the complex social world.

The amazing Gross Motor Milestones

Welcome to the exciting journey of your child’s growth and development! As a parent, you want the best for your child, including their physical and cognitive development.

Gross motor skills are one of the most crucial aspects of a child’s development, as they are essential for performing activities such as running, jumping, climbing, and throwing.

Let’s take an interactive look at gross motor milestones from 0 to 6 years and provide activities and tips to help your child reach these milestones.

0-3 Months: 

In the first few months of life, your baby is learning to control their movements and build strength. At this stage, some of the milestones you can expect to see include:

  • Lifts and turns head while lying on the stomach: This milestone is crucial for building head and neck control, which is essential for your baby’s development.
  •  Kicks and straightens legs while lying on your back: This milestone helps to build leg strength and coordination, which will be important for crawling and walking.
  •  Brings hands to mouth: This milestone is a sign that your baby is starting to develop hand-eye coordination, which will be essential for reaching and grasping objects.


To make sure your tiny human is hitting all the major growth milestones, try these wacky ideas:

  • There is plenty of tummy time to encourage head and neck control and prevent them from getting pancake head.
  •  Place toys just out of reach to encourage them to do some serious stretching and grabbing. Bonus points for soft, fluffy toys that make silly noises.
  •  Give them all sorts of textures to feel up, from cozy blankets to bumpy toys. It’s like a sensory playground for their little hands!


Keep an eye out for any funky delays or oddball growth patterns. If your little one isn’t mastering head control, they might have a brain that’s a bit scrambled.

If their leg movement seems limited, they might have some hip dys-hmm-whatchamacallit. Whatever it is, chat with your pediatrician to be on the safe side.

4-6 Months:

Watch out, world; your little bundle of joy is starting to explore and wreak adorable havoc! Here’s what you can expect:

  • Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ – your baby will be rolling all over the place, building core strength and coordination along the way.
  •  Sitting with a little support – it’s like they’re tiny drunk adults working on their balance and getting ready to crawl and walk.
  •  Reaching and grabbing like a boss – they’re becoming little hand-eye coordination masters and can’t get enough of playing with all the things.


To help your baby reach these milestones, you can:

  • Use a firm pillow to support your baby’s sitting position. This will help to build trunk control and prepare them for crawling and walking.
  •  Encourage reaching and grasping with soft, lightweight toys. Toys with different textures and shapes are ideal for this stage.
  •  Provide a safe and supervised environment for rolling and crawling practice. Soft play mats or blankets can provide a cushioned surface for your baby to practice on.


Delayed rolling may indicate muscle weakness or poor coordination, while the inability to sit with support may indicate a developmental delay. If you have any concerns, talk to your pediatrician.

7-12 Months: 

Gross Motor Milestones 7-12 Months Old

At this stage, your baby is becoming more mobile and is exploring their environment in new ways. Some of the milestones you can expect to see include:

  • Crawls on hands and knees: Crawling is an important precursor to walking and helps to build upper body strength and coordination.
  •  Pulls up to stand and cruises along furniture: This milestone helps to build leg strength and prepare your baby for walking.
  •  Throws and picks up objects with ease: Your baby is becoming more skilled at using their hands and developing hand-eye coordination.


To help your baby get to those major milestones in style, try these silly ideas:

  • Make crawling fun with tunnels, obstacle courses, and squishy toys to clamber over. It’s a workout for their tiny arms and core muscles!
  •  Give them sturdy furniture to hold onto and practice pulling up and cruising around. Who knew a foam chair could be so much fun?
  •  Give them all sorts of toys to play with, from blocks to balls to fluffy critters. It’s like a circus of hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills!


If your baby is not crawling or pulling up to stand by 12 months, it may be a little behind in the growth game. If you have any worries, talk to your pediatrician to ease your mind.

1-2 Years: 

Gross Motor Milestones 1-2 Years Old

At this stage, your little rugrat is all about independence and testing their limits. Here are some things to expect and ways to help them out:

  • They can walk on their own! Woohoo! It’s a major milestone and means they can finally go fetch their own snacks (with supervision, of course).
  •  They can climb stairs with a little help. They’re like little mountaineers in training.
  •  They can throw and catch a ball! It’s like watching a tiny pitcher in action.


To help your child reach these milestones and have a good time, try these goofy ideas:

  • Encourage walking by setting up an obstacle course of pillows, blankets, and cushions to crawl and walk over. It’s a soft landing for any tumbles.
  •  Build an indoor fort or take them to a playground to practice climbing. It’s like a jungle gym adventure!
  •  Play a game of catch with a soft plush toy or balloon. It’s like an epic game of hot potato!


If your child is not walking on their own by 18 months, it may mean they’re taking their sweet time with milestones. If you’re worried, it never hurts to talk to your pediatrician.

3-4 Years:

Gross Motor Milestones 3-4 Years Old

At this point in your child’s development, they’re like a little monkey on the move! Here are some milestones you can expect to see in your child at this age:

  • Your kiddo will be jumping and hopping all around, which is great for building those strong legs and coordination!
  •  The playground is now their kingdom! They’ll be climbing and swinging all over the place, learning new skills while having fun in a safe environment.
  •  They’re also getting better at throwing and catching a ball with more accuracy, which is a super important skill for sports and other activities.


  • Encourage lots of outdoor playtimes! Running, jumping, and riding bikes are all excellent ways to get moving and build those gross motor skills.
  •  Visit different playgrounds or parks with diverse equipment. The swings, monkey bars, and slides are all awesome for trying out new moves.
  •  Grab a small ball or a soft toy and play catch with your child. This is an excellent way to develop their hand-eye coordination and gross motor skills.


If you notice your child is struggling with basic movements like running or jumping, don’t worry! It could be a sign of a developmental delay or a problem with their muscles or bones.

In that case, it’s always a good idea to chat with your pediatrician. Keep on playing and having fun with your little one!

5-6 Years: 

Gross Motor Milestones 5-6 Years Old

Your little swashbuckler is ready to set sail on the seas of gross motor skills! Let’s see what your little scallywag will be able to do:

  • Skip and gallop: Your tiny dancer will be skipping and galloping like a graceful unicorn in no time! These advanced moves require balance, rhythm, and coordination.
  •  Ride a bike without training wheels: Time to say goodbye to those pesky training wheels! Your little adventurer is ready to take on the open road with coordination, balance, and strength.
  •  Throw and catch with more accuracy and speed: Your little slugger is a home run hitter in the making with their improving hand-eye coordination.


  • Take them on outdoor adventures like soccer, basketball, and baseball games. Not only will they be building their skills, but also their teamwork and sportsmanship. Go, team!
  •  Sign them up for new activities like dance or swimming lessons. These are great ways to develop balance and coordination while making a splash.
  •  Play catch or frisbee with your child using a smaller and faster ball. This will help to fine-tune their hand-eye coordination and gross motor skills. Keep your eye on the ball!


If your little one is having trouble with these advanced moves, don’t walk the plank just yet! It could be a sign of a developmental delay or a problem.

How To develop Gross Motor Skills

Developing gross motor skills in kids is a vital aspect of their overall physical and cognitive development. These skills involve the coordination and movement of the larger muscle groups, enabling children to perform essential physical activities with ease and confidence.

Here are some effective ways to encourage the development of gross motor skills in kids:

Physical Play: 

Provide ample opportunities for physical play, such as running, jumping, hopping, and skipping.

Encourage outdoor activities that involve climbing on playground equipment, riding bikes, or playing tag, as these activities help strengthen their muscles and improve coordination, while also fostering a love for an active lifestyle.

Sports and Games: 

Sports And Games For Kids

Introduce your child to sports and games that involve gross motor movements, such as soccer, basketball, or swimming.

Team sports not only enhance their physical abilities but also foster social skills and teamwork, providing a holistic approach to their overall development.

Dance and Movement: 

Enroll your child in dance classes or encourage them to create their own dance routines.

Dancing helps improve balance, rhythm, and coordination, all while having fun and expressing creativity through movement.

Obstacle Courses: 

Set up simple obstacle courses in the backyard or living room using pillows, hula hoops, and cones.

Challenge your child to navigate through the course, promoting balance and spatial awareness, and celebrate their accomplishments to boost their confidence.

Balancing Activities: 

Engage in activities that improve balance, such as walking on a balance beam or a straight line, hopping on one foot, or standing on one leg.

These exercises help enhance stability and coordination, building a strong foundation for more complex movements.

Active Play Toys: 

Provide toys like balls, scooters, tricycles, and jump ropes that encourage physical activity and gross motor skill development.

These toys not only keep them engaged but also contribute to their physical growth and well-being.

Sensory Play: 

Engage in sensory play activities like playing with sand, water, or playdough. These activities stimulate various senses and contribute to overall motor development, while also promoting creativity and problem-solving skills.

Climbing and Swinging: 

Climbing And Swinging Activity For Kids

Visit playgrounds with climbing structures and swings, as these activities help children build strength and coordination.

Encourage them to explore and conquer new challenges to boost their confidence in their abilities.

Yoga and Stretching: 

Introduce yoga and stretching exercises appropriate for kids. Yoga poses and stretches promote flexibility, balance, and body awareness, teaching them relaxation techniques to manage stress and anxiety.

Parent-Child Play: 

Parent-Child Play Activity

Play together with your child, setting a positive example and creating enjoyable bonding experiences. Join them in active play and encourage their efforts and progress, strengthening your connection while fostering their love for physical activities.

Remember that each child develops at their own pace, so be patient and supportive throughout their journey. By providing a variety of opportunities for physical activities and play, you can help your child develop strong gross motor skills, setting them on a path to a healthy and active lifestyle.

General Examples of Gross Motor Skills

Gross motor skills encompass a wide range of movements that involve the use of large muscle groups and the coordination of the entire body. These skills are essential for a child’s physical development and play a crucial role in their ability to engage in various physical activities.

Examples of gross motor skills include running, jumping, hopping, skipping, climbing, balancing, throwing, catching, kicking, riding a bike, and swimming. Each of these activities requires the integration of multiple muscle groups and the synchronization of movements to achieve successful execution.

Here is the complete list of Gross motor skills examples by age-wise.

Examples for Infants (0-18 months age of kids)

During the first 18 months of life, infants develop fundamental gross motor skills that set the foundation for more complex movements later on. Here are some examples:

  • Lifting and turning their head while lying on their stomach
  •  Rolling over from tummy to back and vice versa
  •  Sitting up with support
  •  Crawling and creeping on hands and knees
  •  Pulling themselves up to a standing position using furniture
  •  Walking while holding onto furniture or with adult support
  •  Standing without support for short periods

Examples for Toddlers (18 months – 3 years age of kids)

Toddlers are more mobile and active than infants and continue developing gross motor skills rapidly. Here are some examples:

  • Walking independently
  •  Running and jumping with both feet
  •  Climbing stairs using alternating feet
  •  Riding a tricycle or balance bike
  •  Throwing and catching a large ball
  •  Kicking a ball
  •  Walking on tiptoes
  •  Jumping off a low step or platform
  •  Playing games like “Simon Says” to develop body awareness and coordination
  •  Dancing to music

Examples for Preschoolers (3-6 years age kids)

Preschoolers have greater control over their movements and can engage in more complex physical activities. Here are some examples:

  • Skipping and galloping
  •  Playing hopscotch and jumping rope
  •  Climbing trees and playground equipment
  •  Playing sports like soccer and T-ball
  •  Balancing on one foot for a few seconds
  •  Doing forward rolls and somersaults
  •  Catching a smaller ball with their hands
  •  Riding a two-wheeled bike
  •  Swimming independently

Examples of Primary School Kids

As children enter primary school, they develop a wide range of gross motor skills and can engage in various physical activities. Here are some examples:

  • Playing sports like basketball, volleyball, and tennis
  •  Jumping rope with more complex patterns
  •  Performing cartwheels and handstands
  •  Participating in gymnastics and martial arts
  •  Rollerblading and skateboarding
  •  Tag and other outdoor games that involve running and jumping
  •  Hiking and other outdoor activities that require endurance and coordination
  •  Participating in team sports like soccer, baseball, and softball


In the end, gross motor skills are essential to a child’s physical and social growth. Kids can enhance their coordination, strength, and balance through games and activities encourage gross motor development while building their confidence and social skills.

As a parent or caregiver, you can help your child’s gross motor skills flourish by offering them safe and stimulating opportunities to play and be active.

Whether tag or team sports, hiking or swimming, these experiences will help your child have fun and develop the skills, they need to lead healthy and active lives.

So let your child run, jump, and explore the world around them. With your support and guidance, they can develop the gross motor skills they need to thrive physically and socially.

Was this article helpful?

Leave a Comment