As a term, gross motor skills are perhaps somewhat misleading. For although "gross" conjures up associations of the unpolished, unfinished for many people, gross motor skills are a precise interplay of strength, balance and coordination that is necessary for all movements. Children must first learn these motor skills, from moving their arms and legs with purpose to crawling, running, jumping and climbing. But how can you help children develop their gross motor skills? We have compiled information and practical tips for you on how you can playfully support your child in its gross motor development.
Gross motor skills - What are they anyway?
Fine motor skills vs. gross motor skills: The term motor skills (Gr. movement) refers to the totality of muscle movements of the body. The term gross motor skills refers to all actions that serve the overall movement, for example walking, running, hopping. Fine motor skills include movements for which individual muscle parts must be coordinated, for example hand-finger coordination in grasping, but also mouth motor skills in speaking or facial motor skills.
Balance as a prerequisite: All gross motor movements require well-developed balance. Children must also first build up the appropriate muscle strength or muscle tension to be able to perform movements such as running or hopping. Basic body awareness must also be developed first. Only when children can estimate how long their arms are, for example, or how tall they are in comparison to their environment, can they coordinate their own body with confidence.
Important basis for development: Gross motor skills are not only the basis for all later fine motor movements, but also an important prerequisite for the responsiveness of your child at school age.
Playfully promoting gross motor skills in everyday life
Balancing: Balancing can actually be done anywhere. For example, on low walls, tree trunks or on the colored paving stones on the sidewalk. You can encourage your child to balance by demonstrating it - on the way to kindergarten, on a walk, or out and about in the city.
Playground: Playgrounds offer many different opportunities to encourage gross motor skills. Without your child realizing it, swinging, climbing, sliding and running will exercise their strength, sense of balance and coordination skills.
Jumping: If traffic permits, join your child in jumping up and down curbs along the way. Jumping over puddles after a downpour or "skipping" over individual, color-coded cobblestones is great fun for children and playfully develops their sense of balance and body awareness.
Romping together: Romping around with mom and dad is fun for all children - and it promotes motor development. Children learn to assess their bodies correctly and train their muscles and reactions.
Throwing and catching: It's not for nothing that balls are among the most popular children's toys of all. The various ways of throwing and catching, as well as shooting a ball with the foot, are important exercises for gross motor skills. If you don't feel like tossing a ball back and forth, for example, you can make your own can toss game using clean tin cans and a soft ball. Cloths and balloons are also great alternatives for throwing, catching and chasing.
Ball games: Shooting a ball with your foot is a considerable gross motor skill for younger children. Take a lightweight rubber ball to the park or playground more often. Boys aren't the only ones who enjoy kicking a ball with friends or parents.
Toys and playground equipment for better gross motor skills
The high quality, safe, playful and advanced Montessori 5-in-1 swing in surprisingly fresh, bright colours will support your child's correct motor development. The versatile use allows children to use the swing not only for swinging, but also as a slide, shelter, climbing frame or seat.
This toy will also become a stylish and indispensable accessory in any interior.
- Material: Wood
- Dimensions: 85 x 43,5 x 40 cm
- Hand-finished, pleasant to the touch, all edges are rounded
With these 7 double-sided balancing bars for plugging in, individual balancing routes and balancing paths adapted to different levels of difficulty are created, which promote the sense of balance and urge to move of little adventurers. Thanks to a particularly simple twist-and-lock system that works without tools, children can give free rein to their creativity.
- Material: Wood
- Dimensions: Long beam 70 x 10 x 3 cm; Short beam 20 x 10 x 3 cm
- Set includes: 7 double-sided balancing bars
This stable wooden balance board combines movement exercise with fun! The difficulty level can be adjusted via the two wooden balls that can be screwed into different positions on the underside of the board. This challenges and trains body tension and balance in different ways! The round shape of the board provides plenty of standing space.
- Material: Wood
- Dimensions: base Ø 34 cm, height: 7.5 cm
This climbing triangle is a true multi-talent of an exercise toy that sets no limits for the creativity of young climbing pros! Even younger children can use the triangle for their first attempts at standing up, while older children can climb up the rungs and build additional caves, tunnels, bridges, and houses.
- Material: Wood
- Dimensions: 78 x 67 x 60 cm
- Can be stored in a space-saving way when play is finished
Gross motor skills checklist: this is what matters
Leave space: Children need freedom of movement to playfully try out their bodies and their abilities.
Allow time: In free play, children experiment and often "train" their gross motor skills all by themselves, e.g., on the playground
Set an example: Children take their cues from their parents - encourage your child's motor development by moving around together a lot
Playing together: Balancing, climbing on walls or jumping over puddles is fun and trains gross motor skills along the way
Imagination: get creative and encourage your child to play new games and make new movements.
But no matter what toys you finally choose for your children, the main thing is that it gives your child fun and joy, and, of course, supports and strengthens it in its development. Our product range will make your choice much easier. Please have a look. We look forward to seeing you!