Developing Gross Motor Skills
Activities for infants (Birth to 12 months):
Motor skill to develop: Head control
The head is the first part of the body that a baby can move. Control of the head is necessary to perform other movements such as sitting, crawling , and walking .
Heads Up Exercises:
- Bring your face close to baby’s face as you talk to him. Dangle a brightly colored object to encourage him to lift his head forward.
- To help baby learn to balance his head, sit him on your lap, facing you. Hold the baby with your hands behind his shoulders, then slowly move him from side to side, and gently rock him back and forth. Allow him to respond to this activity by keeping his head upright throughout your rocking.
By 4 to 5 months, babies learn to roll over independently when changing position. The baby would be motivated to roll over if given proper stimuli.
- Place him on the floor lying on his stomach, head turned toward one side. Slightly tuck his opposite shoulder under him. Place the rattle or brightly colored object in front of him so he can see it.
- Slowly raise it above him encouraging him to follow it by turning his head. This would shift his weight to the tucked shoulder and be in a position to roll over on his back as he follows the toy.
- Place him on the floor lying on his back. Place the brightly colored object or musical toy to one side and above his head. Gently grasp his leg on the side opposite the toy, and rotate that leg across his body, moving him onto his side.
- Assist infant to reach up toward the toy, and continue to roll him onto his side, then over to his stomach as he completes the rolling movement.
Motor skill to develop: arm and leg movements, hand-eye coordination
- Play a game of bowling with a small ball he can easily manipulate. Line up objects he can bowl over. This improves his coordination and muscle strength.
- Hang a ball from the ceiling to encourage your child to jump up and tap it with his palm.
- Blow bubbles and encourage the child to chase after them, pop or step on them as they float about or settle on the ground.
- Dr. Arlin de los Angeles, M.D., pediatrician, St. Luke’s Hospital
- Feny delos Angeles-Bautista, early childhood development specialist and school director, Community of Learners School for Children
- Your Child’s Development From Birth Through Adolescence, by Richard Landsdown and Marjorie Walker (1991)
- Websites: shrewsbury-ma.gov/schools/Beal/readiness/finemotoractivities.html ; freekidcrafts.com/Fine-Motor-Skill.html ; skillbuildersonline.com ; shirleyspreschool-activities.com/gross-motor-skills.html ; preschoolrainbow.org/preschool-outdoor.htm
Photography by Alfred Mendoza
What activitiy do you do to hone your child's gross motor skills? We'd love to know. Fill up the comment form below.