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Gross Motor Skills

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Definition: Gross motor skills are one of two types of motor skills, the other being fine motor skills. Gross motor skills involve using the gross (or large) muscles in the body such as the torso, arms, and the legs. Gross motor skills usually develop "head to toe" -- a newborn learns to support his own head first, then gains control of the rest of his body, eventually learning to walk by around a year of age. The rest of the gross motor skills often develop in the same way, over time, as the body gets stronger and the child gains coordination.

Gross motor skills that a preschooler should be able to master include:
  • pumping a swing
  • kicking a ball
  • running
  • walking backwards
  • ride a tricycle
  • skip -- usually by age four
  • catch a ball -- usually by age four
  • throw a ball
  • bounce a ball
  • climb a jungle gym at a playground
  • climbing steps
  • go down stairs with one foot on each step
  • stand on one foot
  • hop on one foot
  • jumping
  • throwing a ball

For more ideas for building your child's gross motor skills, read Gross Motor Preschool Activities.

Gross motor skills will continue to develop through a child's teenage years, becoming more and more refined as the child gets older and practices using them.

Also Known As: Large motor skills

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