Gross motor (physical) skills are those which require whole body movement and which involve the large (core stabilising) muscles of the body to perform everyday functions, such as standing, walking, running, and sitting upright. It also includes eye-hand coordination skills such as ball skills (throwing, catching, kicking).Gross motor skills are important to enable children to perform every day functions, such as walking, running, skipping, as well as playground skills (e.g. climbing) and sporting skills (e.g. catching, throwing and hitting a ball with a bat). These are crucial for everyday self care skills like dressing (where you need to be able to stand on one leg to put your leg into a pant leg without falling over). building blocks for gross motor development are

  • Muscular strength: The ability to exert force against resistance.
  • Muscular endurance: The ability of a muscle or group of muscles to exert force repeatedly against resistance.
  • Motor (muscle) planning: The ability to move the body with appropriate sequencing and timing to perform bodily movements with refined control.
  • Motor learning: A change in motor (muscle) behaviour resulting from practice or past experience.
  • Postural control: The ability to stabilize the trunk and neck to enable coordination of other limbs.
  • Sensory processing: Accurate registration, interpretation and response to sensory stimulation in the environment and one’s own body.
  • Body awareness: Knowing body parts and understanding the body’s movement in space in relation to other limbs and objects.
  • Balance: The ability to maintain position whether that is static, dynamic (moving) or rotational.
  • Coordination: Ability to integrate multiple movements into efficient movement.
  • Crossing Mid-line: The ability to cross the imaginary line running from the child’s nose to pelvis that divides the body into left and right sides.
  • Proprioception: This is information that the brain receives from our muscles and joints to make us aware of body position and body movement.
  • Muscle Tone: The resting muscle tension of a muscle which is the continuous and passive partial contraction of the muscles.


Running is a method of terrestrial locomotion allowing humans and other animals to move rapidly on foot. Running is a type of gait characterized by an aerial phase in which all feet are above the ground (though there are exceptions[1]). This is in contrast to walking, where one foot is always in contact with the ground, the legs are kept mostly straight and the center of gravity vaults over the stance leg or legs in an inverted pendulum fashion.Running usually occurs between 18 to 24 months, “but there is a huge range of normal,Dr.Age ranges for meeting developmental milestones should serve merely as a general guideline. It’s important to remember that each child is different and will meet milestones at different points, when they’re ready. If you’re getting antsy for your child to hit the ground running, keep in mind that the trajectory of development often does not occur in a linear, entirely predictable way. So if your child took her sweet time walking, then don’t expect her to immediately become a rocking runner. Rest assured that her body hasn’t taken a break since she first started walking — her brain, nerves and muscles are still growing and becoming stronger so she can pick up new tricks such as running.

Occupation therapy  uses exercises, activities, strategies and accommodations to help kids develop the skills they need to become more independent.If you’ve noticed that your child is missing certain developmental milestones, OT could help. Occupational therapists can work with kids on many different types of activities. Activities helping for improving gross motor / running are;

  • Hop Scotch for hopping, or other games that encourage direct task/skill practice.
  • Simon Says for body awareness and movement planning (praxis).
  • Wheelbarrow walking races for upper body strength and postural or trunk control.
  • Unstable surfaces: Walking/climbing over unstable surfaces (e.g. large pillows) as it requires a lot of effort and increases overall body strength.
  • Catching and balancing: Standing with one foot on a ball while catching another ball (encourages balance while practicing catching and throwing).
  • Large balls: Begin catching with a large ball/balloon and only after the skill is mastered, move to a smaller sized ball.
  • Obstacle courses: to combine lots of gross motor skills together into one practice.

Therapeutic intervention to help a child with gross motor difficulties is important to:


  • Increase your child’s confidence in gross motor activities (e.g. playing on the playground, running, jumping).
  • Enhance their self-esteem (so they aren’t ostracized or picked last for sports teams due to their physical ability skill challenges).
  • Increase sporting ability and confidence to engage in sports. Participating in sport enables a child to enrich their lives with positive people and develop strong friendships.
  • Help your child develop the strength and endurance to manage the physical needs of a full school day.
  • Provide your child with a strong base of support so that they are better able to use their arms and hands for fine motor skills (such as manipulating small objects, such as pencils, scissors, keys, buttons and zips).
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