Gross Motor Skills In Children

Children need to learn and develop gross motor skills to simply lead ‘a normal life’.

Gross motor skills are the skills that children need to walk, run, climb, swim jump, kick, throw and catch a ball and to be able to play sports and even take part in a school sports day.

Most children have learned to walk between 12 and 18 months ( every child is an individual so age may vary). Before walking many babies will learn to crawl, once this has been mastered they start to climb, often up the stairs and on furniture (use safety gates on stairs), boys especially seem to want to climb everywhere, ( my 3 sons did!).

As children get stronger and more confident a kick about with a football in the garden or park will help to strengthen leg muscles, as will riding a bike or scooter.

When I was working as a child minder we often went to the play park to help with developing the children’s gross motor skills – the climbing frame and slide steps were great for this, I also took along some bats and balls, a tip for helping children to learn to catch is to use a large soft ball rather than a small tennis size ball, because a large ball is easier for small hands to grasp, using a small ball may cause frustration when a child is unable to catch it. I lived within walking distance of a soft play facility so I regularly took the children there too, swinging and climbing on ropes and jumping into the ball pit was fantastic for helping with gross motor skills.

When I was working towards gaining my N.V.Q Level 3 in early years care and education my assessor asked if I would set up an obstacle course in the garden for her next visit to show how I helped the children develop gross motor skills. I was extremely fortunate that the head mistress of my son’s school asked if I could make use of any P.E. equipment while the school was close for the summer break, she said that she didn’t see the point of locking it away if someone could benefit from it, I borrowed hoops, bean bags and skipping ropes ( it may be worth asking at your local school if you can do similar).

I was able to set up a great obstacle course, I used a hoop as a target for the children to throw bean bags into as well as using them as hula hoops. They also had to walk along a skipping rope on the floor with a bean bag on their heads to help practice balance and I set up a bridge to jump over and a lower one to crawl under.

My N.V.Q. assessor was really impressed and the children had a great afternoon.

Trampolines are good for developing gross motor skills ensure that the manufacture’s guidelines are followed regarding suitable ages and number of children allowed on at once to prevent accidents.

Developing gross motor skills in children should enable them to have fun  while getting some important exercise.

Please share any experiences of gross motor skills in children.

I would like to thank  Sarah Knight, Jade Marie Ryan and Vanessa Willis France for supplying the photos used in this post.

As always questions/comments are welcome.

Until next week

Karen

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