Developing strong muscles is very important for toddlers or kids. It helps to improve their body structure, strength and personality traits too. This is why; parents must encourage their little ones in doing different activities that will enhance their gross motor skills from an early age.
As a parent, there’s an unsaid yet universal responsibility to develop your child with stronger structural and functional growth. This growth can only happen when the fine skills of muscle are working in accordance.
Gross motor skills are one such important thing that helps children develop stronger and better muscle coordination between hands, legs, fingers, arms, etc. It involves the large muscles and strengthens the body by increasing stability, head to toe control and movements as well.
In short, gross motor develops the movements in the body so that the growing toddler can be stronger with more body control and stability. Hence, it is essential to know everything about proper gross motor skill development.
Some examples of gross motor skills are –
These are also important to encourage and prepare your child for a healthy lifestyle when they grow up.
Why is it important to develop gross motor skills?
Interesting fact: According to research, a child who develops gross motor skill from an early age has better body functioning capacity. They are also more prone to having a healthier lifestyle. Apart from this, there are other reasons to know –
- Muscular endurance:
Not only the muscles will grow strong, but it will also have more endurance capacity to put force against resistance.
- Motor learning:
Your muscle will learn from experiences and react accordingly in similar situations.
- Motor planning:
In here, the body muscle will be able to move in sequence and in a timely manner.
- Sensory process:
It helps the ocular muscles to develop more appropriate registration, interpretation and sensory stimulation in the body.
- Postural control:
It helps in stabilizing neck and trunk for a smoother limb movement.
- Developing muscle tone:
It develops the resting muscle tension and improves partial contraction of muscles.
It stabilizes and controls muscle movement in a developing kid.
These are few of the other essential progresses in the body structure of toddlers or kids that are imperative for forming a better muscular structure.
Apart from these, it equally helps in developing and polishing different personality traits. This includes confidence, social skills, self-esteem, intelligence, a knack to study, etc.
With this knowledge, the next concern is, how to help a toddler develop these skills. To help your child in this field, get to know about this in details.
How to develop gross motor skills?
There are 4 clear sections in which the activities can be divided. This will help to make sure that the child is getting proper attention and building up better muscular functionality in the body.
Improves more oxygen intake and initiates metabolism. This is very important to keep the blood circulation better which further increases muscle formation too.
Age Group: 1 and half years or more
- Jumping jacks
The best exercise for kids. They can do this on couch, bed or in the lawn. This is for the little ones who have just turned 1 and half years or more and have recently learned to walk.
Don’t give them the skipping rope at the very beginning; rather, wait for some time till they are about to enter school.
- Climbing stairs
It is best to encourage them slowly and steadily to climb stairs. Initially, it will be a crawl; climb will follow next. Just make sure they don’t fall or get hurt. Be careful and help them with this activity to strengthen their gross motor skills.
It is an enjoyable and healthy activity for children. As parents, even you can take equal part in dancing so that they feel more involved. Don’t bother on perfecting the steps; rather engage in the movements of their body which is necessary for developing muscles.
Activities in water
Water provides a strong resistance and overcoming that requires more strength. This is why; playing in water can help in improving muscle formation and structure properly. Here are some of the water activities to do:
Age group: 2+ years
- Fill up a small bucket and lift
Give your toddler a small bucket half filled with water and ask him/her to displace it. It will make the limbs and the arms stronger. Just ensure to start with very lightweight and then, gradually increase the weight.
Swimming not only improves muscle coordination but also boosts lung capacity and immunity. So, encourage your toddler to play in the pool and later on, get your child all set for learning how to swim as soon as he or she is 2-3 years old.
- Water polo
No, not in the pool but the tub. Throw a ball at your child slowly and see if he/ she can catch and throw back. Always encourage them to throw the ball a little harder. This will help them tremendously.
Playing outdoors improves resistive capacity in the body. Also, it makes a toddler more social and confident.
Age group: 4 years +
- Set up obstacles
Cones to ropes and tyres! Create an obstacle ground for your child. Don’t make it very difficult or else they will lose interest.
Trampolines are fun and safe as well. Set one in the garden or lawn of your home and play outside with your child on it.
As parents, it’s obvious that you are worried about your child’s proper development. Why not do something interesting? Involve your child in some other interesting activities which are easy to do at home.
Age Group: Design it as per your child’s age.
- Workout at home
It is never too early for healthy workouts. If you are planning to improve your child’s gross motor skills, start with some workout at home. Don’t forget to repeat the exercises with your kid!
Get a net of manageable size and tie knots on the four ends. Ask your child to hold two ends, and you hold the other two ends. Put a ball inside and balance it rolling to the corners without dropping. It helps in improving the limbs, arms and hand muscles pretty well.
All these are very important for your child to have stronger and more developed muscles. Start the training now and contribute in your child’s better future. Check out other exciting gross motor skills activities online and have some fun with your child.