What are gross motor skills?
Gross motor skills involve the use of the large muscles of our body such as the arms and legs. Walking, running, jumping, skipping, climbing, hanging off monkey bars, swinging, dancing, somersaults and cartwheels are all examples of gross motor activities. Developing gross motor skills is an important part of development n childhood.
Importance of gross motor development
Gross motor development in young children helps not just physical development but also enhances the brain development process.
1. Physical Fitness:
Development of age appropriate gross motor skills helps the child to gain strength, control body movements and become independent. Motor development in childhood prepares the child for complex activities in the future such as playing sports and is important for physical fitness, growth and health of the children.
2. Mental Fitness:
Children develop new pathways in the brain that boost learning when they develop their gross motor skills. Pathways in the brain are connections that allow information to travel in the brain. Research has shown that up to 90% of brain development occurs in the first 5 years of life. Development of gross motor skills helps develop new connections in the brain, which act as roadmaps to learning.
Encouraging gross motor development in childhood
Young children grow and learn at an enormous rate, and it is imperative for a child to receive all the necessary exposure and practice to hone and develop his motor skills. Take your child to the garden as often as possible and encourage him to tackle and complete the activities in the kid’s zone.
If your child shows interest in any particular physical activity, consider enrolling him for coaching of the same. If you plan to enrol your child for any kind of physical activities or sports, do not wait for your child to grow older to develop their hobbies and interests. Remember, children grow very quickly, and it won't be long before academics begin to take a major chunk of their time and energy.
Activities that encourage motor development in childhood
Regardless of whether your child has strong or weak gross motor skills, any regular physical activity will go a long way to develop and nourish his motor skills. Some activities that help develop motor skills are as follows:
- Follow the leader: the leader can get into challenging balancing positions for children to imitate or can rapidly change actions for children to quickly imitate.
- Clearing the obstacle course on the play ground: This can involve crawling through a cardboard box or tunnel, climbing and walking over tyres or other objects, hopping over a pattern, jumping over a series of patterns and finally dragging or pulling or running to bring back object to the start point.
- Bouncing on trampoline: Bouncing on the trampoline is a great exercise and can be on the legs, on all fours limbs with legs stretched or bending mid air.
- Skipping: Skip with one leg in the front in the beginning and later on advance to skipping with both feet. Advanced skippers can have fun with several variations.
- Dancing to music: Imitating dance steps of popular music videos is a super fun large motor skill exercise.
- Pushing the wheelbarrow: It helps in the development of core muscles and is good for the shoulders and arms.
- Swinging and spinning: Swinging high on ropes and swings and spinning around helps develop coordination and helps bring body awareness.
Engage your child in a regular physical activity and encourage him to develop his motor skills.
Disclaimer: The information in the article is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor.