Do you want to work on your baby’s coordination and balance? Are you looking for activities that could aid in the way? If so, gross motor activities for infants are the way to go. They’ll help your little one develop their motor skills, which then leads to a healthier and happier life ahead.
If you want to find out what gross motor skills are and what activities will lead to their development, we’re here for you. Now all you need is the best floor mat for baby and you’re all ready! Let’s get into it.
Gross motor skills are skills that involve the whole body. From the muscles in the belly and abdomen to the ones in the arms and legs, all play a role in gross motor skills.
Between the ages of 0 months to 6 months, these are the skills you should focus to develop in your little one the most, because not only will they increase their balance and coordination, but will also strengthen the nervous system and hand-eye coordination.
Gross motor skills are important for an infant’s development.
The following are some gross motor skills examples you should help your little one develop:
- Tummy time and kicking
- Holding the head up and rolling over
- Reaching and grabbing
- Pushing and sitting up
If you’re familiar with the terminology ‘gross motor skills’ already, I’m pretty sure you’ve heard of fine motor skills as well. So what are fine motor skills?
Fine motor skills are about doing intricate tasks. Gross motor skills involve bigger muscles like the core muscles or the arm muscles, but fine motor skills use the smaller muscles such as wrist muscles, fingers, and hands.
Fine motor activities for infants for gross motor skill development include:
- Grabbing a pair of scissors
- Holding a pencil
- Writing and cutting
- Playing with blocks
But keep in mind, that the first step to building fine motor skills is to develop gross motor skills first.
Having tummy time for your little one is extremely important. This is great for babies who have not yet started crawling but show some movement in the arms and legs.
You can simply place your little one on their tummy and leave the rest to them. They’ll stretch their arms and legs, leading to gross motor skill development. If you want to join your precious one in the fun, feel free to lie down on your tummy too!
Tummy time helps strengthen the muscles in your kid’s shoulder and neck. It also encourages movement in the arms and legs and allows your baby to use all their strength to move their head around.
Pushing and pulling activities also encourage a lot of movement in core muscles as well as arms and legs. There are many push toys and pull toys that you can add to your little one’s play area to work on their gross motor skills or even use as infant activities for daycare.
Push toys include riding toys, balls, and small cars with tires. Pull toys include cars, trains, trucks, animals, or anything that has a string attached to it. Push and pull toys can be used as outdoor gross motor activities too. Later on, they can also be used as outdoor toys for 1-year-olds.
Tip: it’s best to give your baby push toys and pull toys on alternate days for better gross motor skills development.
Balloon kicking activities are really fun for toddlers. All you need is a helium balloon and some ribbon. Tie the balloon to the ribbon on one end and tie the other end of the ribbon to your kid’s foot. That’s it!
Now just observe your little one laughing, trying to kick the balloon, and developing gross motor skills. As they’ll lift their feet, the balloon’s movement will be entertaining for them. To make it extra fun, you can tie another balloon to the other foot as well for more gross motor skill development.
Just make sure to avoid this little game if your kid is at the age where they like to put everything in their mouth to prevent any choking hazards.
The easiest game you could play with your infant to develop gross motor skills is to roll the ball. All you need to do is get your hands on a ball and make your baby sit. You can support their back against something to allow them to sit up, and then roll the ball towards them.
Let your little one catch the ball, and once they do, encourage them to roll the ball towards you. This is one of the best floor activities for infants.
Rolling the ball encourages movement in their arms and back, which is a gross motor skill. It strengthens their lower body when they try to sit upright and eventually helps them to get ready for sitting. It also works on their eye-to-hand coordination.
Infant tunnels can be an exciting little game for your baby. Just pull a blanket over to create a tunnel-like area and place your baby on one end of the tunnel. From the other end, encourage them to come towards you. This will strengthen their core muscles and can also be a cute way to spend time with your precious little one and simultaneously develop their gross motor skills.
Even though this DIY tunnel can be a fun option, you can also opt for a proper infant tunnel available in baby stores. The contrast of colors and designs can be good for the baby, so tunnels can be great as large motor activities for infants and toddlers.
We’ve already been through the advantages of tummy time, but what if you make tummy time even more fun? If you’re bored of the regular old tummy time, sensory bags and mats will come in handy.
Incorporating sensory play into tummy time will make it even more fun for your little kid and develop their gross motor skills. If you’re wondering how to make tummy time fun, these DIY sensory bags options will help:
- Glitter bag
- Cotton ball bag
- Slime bag
- Jello bag
- Bag with poms poms
- Water beads bags
- Themed bags such as Christmas themed, Halloween themed, etc.
Introducing your little one to different textures and colors helps develop their sensory and gross motor skills. All you need is a beautifully textured best baby play mat and a few different toys, making it one of the best daycare activities for infants. Now just let your infant roam around and discover all the different textures on their own.
Such gross motor activities for babies will let them move around, use their muscles, and enjoy themselves. Just make sure that none of the toys placed on the mat are choking hazards or have any sharp edges. Even a baby play foam mat will be great for this purpose!
Roll a sensory bottle around to let your little one experience the different colors and textures. It’s basically like a roll-the-ball game, but with a sensory twist to it, which helps in developing sensory skills and gross motor skills, and also acts as a visual aid.
You can create your sensory bottles at home using things you already own. The following are some ideas for gross motor development activities for infants using sensory bottles:
- Put multi-colored slime in a bottle
- Add some confetti to the bottle and let your baby spin it around
- Fake snow bottle
- Under-water-themed sensory bottle with small sea-animals figurines
Or if you feel like this is too much work, you can always go ahead and purchase one that suits your needs the best.
Some of my best childhood memories are of me surrounded by water. From a water fight to showers in the rain, there are no water play games a kid could hate, and I assure you, your infant is no different. There are many water games you can play with your infant to help them develop some gross motor skills.
Infants can barely hold their heads up, so putting them in a water tub is not an option. But there are many other water games you can play with them. Put a small tub of water in front of them with fleeting ducks and see where their imagination takes them.
You can replace the ducks with some sponges and watch them discover. There is nothing they will like more than making a mess!
Kids don’t need fancy toys to have fun. You can see this for yourself by simply putting a mini water pool in front of them and showing them how to splash. See them go crazy and develop gross motor skills in the most fun way possible, as playing in a mini pool is one of the best gross motor activities for infants 6-12 months.
All kids love playing with blocks. They are a good physical activity and allow the use of the brain and muscles. Plus, the different colors and contrasts allow sensory development. Apart from developing gross motor skills in your little one, blocks increase problem-solving skills, imagination, creativity, and self-expression.
Kids find creative ways to have fun and climbing into their toy cars is one of their weirdest habits. But it develops large motor skills, so why should we complain? You can replicate it by placing a cardboard box in front of them and adding some toys to it.
Either your kid will topple it over to get into it or climb the box to jump into it. Either way, it is an excellent child development activity to develop gross motor skills.
Even we, as adults, can agree that bubble wrap is fun to play with, so why wouldn’t the kids love them, right? Let them crawl around on bubble wrap for gross motor skill development and the sound of the bubbles popping will bring out the cutest reaction in them.
Tummy time games with bubble wrap can be among cute infant gross motor activities, but just be careful with the potential risks involved and be sure put them away once playtime is over.
Textured toy bins are a lot of fun for your baby. They encourage them to reach out to the bin and maybe even climb into it. You can make playtime more fun by adding as many textures and colors as possible in their play area to increase gross motor skill development.
Everyone likes things that are a bit out of reach. So now and then, place your kiddie’s favorite toy a little higher than they could reach.
Movement activities for infants like this will motivate them to pull themselves up to reach the toy and will help to develop their gross motor skills.
It strengthens their muscles and starts the development of their leg muscles sooner. Plus, imagine how fun it would be to sit and observe your baby trying to reach a toy beyond reach, right?
Parents tend to keep their babies away from making a mess. But sometimes a little mess can be loads of fun. Start with purchasing some non-toxic, or edible, paints and place them in front of your infant. Make a carpet out of paper and place your baby on top.
Show them how to paint and watch them discover their way around it. Let them make a mess and play with different colors. This aids in the development of infant gross motor skills and sensory skills.
Now that you know all this, you can start working on small or large motor activities for infants. Any of the above gross motor skills activities for infants will do you loads of good. Hopefully, this helped you find fun gross motor activities for babies. If you have any more questions regarding gross motor skills, feel free to ask!