Large (or Gross) Motor Skills for Young Children are an important facet of their growth and development! The ability to first crawl, then stand/walk/hop/balance are vital components of their overall well-being and physical abilities.
Just as all children develop on their own growth curve, they also all conquer motor milestones at unique times. Generally speaking, though, there are phases of ability and strength children progress through. Encouraging them through fun-filled exercises and activities is a part of our daily classroom curriculum. Both indoor and outdoor times of the day are devoted to focused Large/Gross Motor actions!
How do you know if your child’s Large Motor Skills are developing well?
Here are some basic areas of strength that should yield observable improvement… and activities that can help strengthen your little learner:
PLANES OF MOVEMENT:
There is plenty of technical jargon for the three primary planes of movement (Sagittal Plane, Frontal Plane, Transverse Plane). The gist is to check out these three things:
Can my child…
Moving each side of their body (with an imaginary line drawn in the middle, from head to toe) is obviously important to basic movement! Encourage this by walking practice.
Do Jumping Jacks?
Pretend another imaginary line is drawn across the midsection: can your child move the top and bottom of their bodies independently? Practice in segments: sit cross-legged on the floor and move just your arms. Stand with your hands on your hips and jump your legs out and in. Begin combining these actions to encourage strength.
Touch opposite knees?
Rotational movements often pose the biggest strength challenge to young children. This is why many children “W” sit, creating a kind of tripod of balance so they don’t have to support their upper body as much. Coordination is developed through practice: sit with your legs out and reach for things on the opposite side, sit with knees up and pass a beanbag back and forth between your hands, lay on your back with your legs in the air and see if you can make your legs move side to side like windshield wipers, touch your fingers to your opposite knees, kick your legs and twist your torso, etc.