As an Occupational Therapist, with a keen interest in skill development and progression and having previously written the eBooks ‘Sensory Survival Guide’, ‘Fine Motor Skills Activity Guide’ and ‘Sensory Trays for all Ages’ also available from www.sensorylivingshop.com, I decided to create a guide to help parents, teachers, fellow therapists and students to help children progress with their gross motor skills.
What are gross motor skills?
Gross motor skills are those which require whole body movement and which involve the large muscles of the body to perform everyday tasks, such as walking, running and jumping. In addition to having the ability to remain upright when sitting and standing. They also include hand-eye coordination skills like ball skills e.g. throwing, catching and kicking as well as riding a bike and swimming.
Why are gross motor skills important?
Gross motor skills are important to enable children to perform everyday tasks and engage in activities. Gross motor skills are essential for important movements like standing, walking and running but also for self-care tasks such as getting dressed, using the toilet, getting in and out of the car, or getting in and out of bed.
Gross motor abilities also have an influence on other everyday tasks. For example, a child’s ability to maintain in an upright posture will significantly affect their ability to engage in fine motor tasks e.g. drawing and writing. This is the same for the classroom, children need to sit upright to attend to classroom tasks which impacts their cognition and academic learning. In addition, gross motor skills impact on your endurance to cope with a full day of school e.g. sitting upright at a desk, carrying your school bag, walking around the school, carrying books etc. Gross motor skills also impact your ability to get around your environment and surroundings e.g. finding your way to class.