The Importance of Gross Motor Development
Gross motor skills are a vital part of a child’s development, as the rule of thumb states “gross motor before fine motor”. Nurturing the need for gross motor activities help our kids feel confident in their bodies and whole body movement activities. Encouraging these larger movement patterns promote success and enrich activities in school, home, and on the playground. Activities involving the whole body or our larger muscle groups provide confidence during physical activity and help build a foundation for more refined skills such as fine motor throughout development.
Gross motor or whole body movement patterns involve our large muscle groups of the trunk, arms and legs and assist us in everyday activities such as eating breakfast, showering, or tying your shoes. These larger muscle groups must work together with our brain to promote functional movement, balance, coordination, body awareness and strength just to name a few.
Now that we’ve broken down the definition of gross motor or whole body movement patterns and how the larger muscle groups help us make smaller movement, it’s time to talk about activities that promote these movements. Rain or shine, these muscle groups can be enriched inside or outside with endless possibilities and a little imagination. Activities that promote gross motor development include but are not limited to: crawling, jumping, climbing, dancing, playing hopscotch, building obstacle courses, swimming, martial arts, riding bikes, yoga, playing twister, balloon volleyball, bean bag toss, and pushing or pulling a wagon or laundry basket. These are just some ways to activate our larger muscle groups and provide confidence in movement.
By: Natalie McHale, A.S., COTA