Gross motor skills

I am going to start with 2 year olds. Around this age, children are extremely active and curious. They are beginning to form their own identities and push boundaries, hence why we have the terrible twos. I have had 6 children so by the third child, you just adapt and allow them to flourish.

So it’s all about big movements. We call these gross motor movements and it’s mainly about developing muscles and skills through jumping, spinning around, running, turning pedals on a bike or pushing a truck along. Children may also want to draw outside and that is fantastic. I always buy my daughter those packs of chunky chalks that are inexpensive. You can always give your little one a paint pot filled with water and a chunky brush. When Leah first started using brushes outside I gave her a bowl and a brand new fence painting brush and she loved it. 

Over time allowing your child to undertake gross motor movements, then prepares them for fine motor skills that is smaller movements. Give your child space to run, crawl, jump with two feet together, climb up the stairs using alternate feet and do these big movements every day. When Leah first started running, we did this on grass with me holding her hand. This will also improve their spacial awareness as believe me when little ones start nursery, they will often bump and fall if they haven’t had enough practise of spacial awareness. Accidents will still happen, but preparing your child is a preventative to less falls. 

Dance every day. We always sing and perform action rhymes together such as head, shoulders, knees and toes, or if you’re happy and you know it. She loves animals so we also act out ‘down in the jungle’ then we watch video clips of her favourite animals to calm down. We also sing finger and hand rhymes such as round and round the garden. It won’t be long before your child has a favourite song that is on repeat. I remember dancing to wheels on the bus for ages!!! Humpty Dumpty is her favourite at the moment so she sits on her ball and falls off in time to Humpty Dumpty falling off the wall!! 

Simple games like tossing bean bags into a target also make her laugh. She has an inside and outside ball and likes to roll her ball or throw it. She is beginning to catch with cupped hands. Building on interests is vital!!! It is how you get them engaged!! For example, I know Leah loves animals, so I bought her a farm stickle bricks set to get her developing those fine motor skills. She loves building and creates her own stories too using the animals. I did the same with her train set. It’s a very basic one, so I purchased some zoo animals and placed them around the track and told her the trains were going to the zoo. She made up another story around this. 

This is similar to what we do in schools. We build on children’s interests to help them develop other skills such as fine motor or social skills within role play or small world. Some children refuse to paint so I buy stampers or rollers to ignite their interest. You can also use old toothbrushes for painting or car wheels for making tracks. Please always check for allergies and accommodate health needs where needed. Always check labels on toys are suitable for your child. Health and Safety must come first. Likewise, when your child is out and about exploring always try to scan the area first to make sure it’s safe. Some things are unavoidable such as animal faeces; so I always ensure she has her wellies on or I buy her washable shoes

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