Motor skills are important in a child's early years. In short, motor skills involve movement and their control over different parts of their body to accomplish daily tasks. These skills are divided into gross motor skills and fine motor skills. To clarify, gross motor skills activities are those that involve large muscle movements like running and jumping. On the other hand, fine motor skills involve coordinating the smaller muscles. These include the fingers and wrists in order to perform tasks like writing, cutting and tying. As parents, we can help our child's gross and fine motor skills to develop by encouraging certain activities. What Are Gross Motor Skills? In essence, gross motor skills are those that involve the movement of your child's large muscles in their torso, arms and legs. Gross motor skills in children help them move around, play, perform chores and stay healthy. Additionally, it helps them get around and improves their balance. In general, if gross motor skills are not properly developed, your child may face challenges in things like running, jumping and climbing. Issues with gross motor skills may carry on into adulthood. Furthermore, gross motor skills affect more than just the body's ability to move. Gross motor skills help: \tCoordination of limbs, joints, muscles and more with the neurological system \tBalance \tPhysical strength building \tBody awareness \tDevelopment of reaction times \tDevelopment of fine motor skills Therefore, as parents, you want to encourage your child's gross motor skills to develop as best as it can early on in their lives. 7 Great Ideas for Gross Motor Skills Activities Children will naturally want to practice their gross motor skills early on. These activities will help them vary their movements to ensure that all aspects of gross motor skills are covered for more holistic development. Bring Out those Dance Moves Dancing is a great way for your kids to practice their gross motor skills. This activity helps them to coordinate their body's movement to the beat of music. However, you don't necessarily have to send them to dance lessons. Dancing here can be as simple as turning on some nursery rhymes and doing some simple moves freely. Otherwise, you can also turn on some songs and dances on social media, like on YouTube and learn the dances therein. Bring Them to The Playground Slides, swings, merry-go-rounds, monkey bars and more allow your children to climb, jump and trains their arms for gripping. Additionally, it gives their core muscles a workout too. All this helps them build strength as well as balance. Apart from that, using rope ladders and rope bridges help your child learn how to shift their weight to avoid falling. Playgrounds are also great for their social skills, as they meet other children there. It will help them learn how to interact and build healthy relationships along the way. Chasing Bubbles If you're going for an outing in the park, and have run out of ideas on what to play, here's one. Just blow some bubbles and have your child chase after them to burst them. Chasing bubbles like this lets them round around and build speed to react fast. Bubbles are pretty harmless to play with and don't leave a huge mess for you to clean up. It helps if you can have this activity outdoors as your child will need a large area to run around. Alternatively, if you can't find bubbles, balloons will also do the trick. Perhaps you can have a game of trying to keep the balloon air-bound for the longest time. Hopscotch When we were kids, we all may remember playing Hopscotch. This was a game of boxes drawn on the ground to form the hopscotch grid. Then, each player tosses a small object inside one of the squares on the hopscotch grid, and hops from square to square, hopping over the square with their rock in it. Each player's goal is to hop all the way down to the end and back without the other foot touching the ground. There's no better time to teach your kids this game than right now. Traditional childhood games are just as good as modern ones in helping to develop motor skills. You can even do this at home with the help of art masking tapes, which are gentle on household flooring. Pulling or Pushing Shopping Carts Here's where you can turn your children into little helpers. Gross motor skills activities don't need to happen exclusively during play time. They can happen when you're teaching your children daily life chores or tasks too. Therefore, the next time you go shopping, you can let your child push a child-sized shopping cart or those smaller baskets with wheels. Of course, you shouldn't let them push the adult sized carts unless they're older and tall enough. Riding on Wheels Scooters, tricycles and bicycles are great ways for your child to develop motor balance. This means they can learn to shift their weight on a moving vehicle to make sure they don't fall over. You can start an inexperienced young child on a tricycle or a bicycle with training wheels first. Alternatively, you can start them on scooters. Once they're older you can train them to cycle on a two-wheeler. Just make sure that you're doing all this in a safe space away from traffic and equip your children with the necessary safety gears. These should include helmets, elbow pads, knee pads and covered shoes. Martial Arts Classes Martial arts classes help gross motor skills by letting your child learn punches, kicks, grappling, balancing and more. Some of the martial arts classes that accept children as young as four to five include karate, Taekwondo, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Aikido, Judo and more. In addition to just the physical aspect, martials arts allow your child to learn discipline, self-control and respect as well. Helping Your Child Enjoy Gross Motor Skills Activities Just like everything else in your child's life, helping them enjoy these physical activities are key. Not only will they have a perception that gross motor activities are fun, they will also be able to bring this enjoyment into adulthood. In short, it will help them develop a healthy lifestyle throughout their lives. Remember not to force anything on them, and let them explore different activities at their own pace. You've got this, parents! Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as medical advice from Motherhood. For any health-related concerns, it is advisable to consult with a qualified healthcare professional or medical practitioner. For more insightful stories and fun recipes, stay tuned to Motherhood Story!