Early Childhood Intervention: Module One – Typical and Atypical Development

Gross Motor Skills

Motor Development: Gross Motor Skills1

Gross motor development, also called large motor development, refers to the development of the large muscles in the body. These are the muscles that help us sit, stand, walk, run, go up and down the stairs, and kick a ball, among many other activities.

Typically developing children usually develop gross motor skills in this order:

  • holding head straight up or erect (Fig. 1)
  • rolling from stomach to back, and then back to stomach
  • sitting with support or assistance
  • sitting without support (but with supervision!)
  • creeping (i.e. moving on stomach, usually while using mostly the arms)
  • crawling (i.e. moving while using both arms and legs)
  • rolling a ball
  • walking with both hands held by an adult
  • pulling to a stand
  • standing
  • stopping to retrieve or collect something
  • walking a few steps on their own
  • walking on their own
  • squatting to retrieve or collect something
  • kicking a ball
  • throwing and catching a ball
  • climbing on and off furniture
  • running
  • walking upstairs and downstairs
  • jumping
  • walking backwards
  • pedaling a tricycle or a mini-bike
  • hopping forward and landing on both feet
  • riding a bicycle

 

Figure 1: Child lifting head while on tummy
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