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7 Gross Motor Skills Activities for Toddlers


The development of the major muscle groups of a child is critical. The first two to three years of a child’s life are, therefore, crucial as they are required to develop their gross motor skills.

Proper development of a kid’s gross motor skills serves as a basis for the practical mastering of their fine motor skills.

Hence, every toddler needs to be engaged in activities that are directed at building their core muscles.

Listed below are seven gross motor skills activities that are appropriate for toddlers both indoors and outdoors.

Walking and Running

Activities that encourage the repetitive movement of the legs are highly beneficial to strengthening the lower limbs.

Set an obstacle course for your child to walk and give them instructions on where to begin and stop.

You could lay down lines with tape to form some straight, zigzag, circle, or spiral tracks and ask them to walk on it.

Running in place, jogging from one point to another, or marching in a straight line are some activities that will get their leg muscles working.

Throwing and Catching

A big object, preferably soft, can be used to help your toddler practise how to catch and throw things to meet a target.

As time progresses and they can successfully catch a large item, you can then reduce the size of the objects gradually until they can handle throwing and catching small objects effectively.

This form of activity helps to strengthen their arm muscles, teach them how to grip and hold on to objects, and improve their hand-eye coordination.

Jumping and Hopping

Games such as hopscotch, jumping jacks, and skipping rope help kids to learn how to use their core muscles.

Landing successfully on their feet after each leap helps with balancing as they will learn how to retain a standing position.

Another activity is to arrange a row of circles or hoops as a challenge. The goal is for kids to hop into each sphere without stepping out of line.

Climbing and Crawling

The ability to move the arms and legs in a synchronized motion that allows for fluid movement is a gross motor skill that children should possess.

Climbing up the rungs of a ladder or crawling up and down stairs helps develop arm and leg muscles.

Learning towers are also known as kitchen helpers. They are similar to step tools as they enable toddlers to reach higher counters or spaces safely.

Pushing and Pulling

Actions that involve pulling and pushing help to increase the level of endurance and resistance that the muscles can possess.

You can have your child push or pull on objects with varying degrees of heaviness to increase the strength of their gross motor skills.

Set a cart, wagon, or box on a path and tell the kids to pull or push it from a start point to an endpoint.

You can fill the container to change its weight gradually and put more obstacles on the path to increase the level of difficulty.

Building and Stacking

Building structures and stacking objects are activities that can significantly influence a child’s gross motor function.

The act of lifting an item and placing it in a specific spot provides a good workout for the arms. Give your child a set of building blocks and let them create structures, either on their own or with a model as a guideline. You can also have them stack boxes or solid shapes to a certain height.

Dancing and Acting

Whether in a sequence or haphazard manner, dancing engages all the core muscles and ensures movement in various directions.

Put on some music and get your child to shake or wiggle to the beat. An exciting form of activity is having your child act like or imitate the movements of animals.

For instance, they can run around with their arms outstretched like a bird, stomp around like an elephant, or run on all fours like a lion.

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