Babies are generally active little people who will leave you feeling totally exhausted at the end of the day. Especially when they start crawling and getting into EVERYTHING like my little monkey. My daughter is super active and she loves when I do different activities with her! It’s important to do both, gross motor activities and fine motor activities. Today I will show you some of our favorite gross motor activities.
When you hear “gross motor skills”, you think “large”. And that’s exactly what it is. Gross motor skills for infants (or large motor skills) are skills that help with child development, and involve arms, legs and the whole torso. That’s why gross motor activities for infants mostly include crawling, reaching, standing, walking, lifting things or throwing objects.
Babies learn to use their muscles through tummy time when they are about 3 months old. Lifting their head up, and later on their chest, is a hard work! Put some toys in front of them to keep them motivated. After they master tummy time, it’s time to roll back and forth, pull up on all 4 and off we go! All this requires gross motor development in infants.
Help your baby with gross motor skills development by doing these simple activities. These are mostly for babies 6 months old to one year old. But any age group can try if you modify the activity for baby’s age.
Plus, doing activities with your baby creates tons of sweet memories. Take lots of pictures!
Push and Pull
Pushing and pulling objects is great for baby’s gross motor skills. Attach a string on some toys and encourage baby to pull the string and then push the toy away. You have to help your baby and model the play. Read more about this fun gross motor activity here. Then check out some of the toys we love below!
Roll the Ball
Sit your baby in front of you and roll him/her a ball. Make sure you show your baby how you’re rolling the ball. Then encourage your baby to roll the ball back to you. Clap and sing, or yell “Yaaay, you rolled the ball!” when your baby does throw the ball away. It probably won’t be a straight roll, most likely just a throw of the ball to a random direction. Here is more about this activity.
Crunch and rip the magazine
Give your baby one of those sturdy magazines, and let him/her crunch and rip pages. Rip out the page of the magazine requires strong muscles in your baby’s arms! It’s a great practice of arm muscles as well as those belly muscles. If your baby can’t sit by himself/herself yet, put a nursing pillow behind, or sit behind your baby for support.
Don’t let your baby eat the paper – choking hazard!
Reach up high
Place toys in high places and encourage your baby to reach after them. If you have a walker, and your baby is old enough to be in the walker, let him/her reach up from there. It’s great for exercising the entire core, arms and legs. If you don’t have a walker, hold baby for support and encourage him to stand and reach up.
Crawl through the tunnel
Encourage your baby to crawl through the tunnel. Sit at the other side of the tunnel and clap, sing, move toys around. Do whatever your baby likes and what gets him/her moving. You can either buy one of the tunnels, like the one on the picture. This one is actually a part of a Mickey Mouse fort. You can also make a tunnel by opening an empty box from both sides, or putting a blanket over the table or two chairs.
Explore the box
Give your baby an empty box and encourage him/her to explore.
Babies are naturally curious. Pushing the box, lifting it, trying to look inside and even crawl into the box will help strengthen your baby’s little muscles. After your baby explores the box, you can cut it up open on both sides to make a cool new tunnel.
Crawling on a bubble wrap
Get a roll of bubble wrap and tape it to the floor. Make sure you tape it good because when your baby crawls on the bubble wrap, he/she is going to try to pull on it just like S did, and she eventually did pull hard enough for the tape to give in.
Crawling on bubble wrap is amazing sensory activity and gross motor activity. The bubble wrap is pleasant and interesting to touch, so their little hands can explore new textures. It’s soft and it will pop under pressure which makes for a very entertaining crawl. Bubble wrap is also softer under their knees to crawl on which your baby will appreciate!
Your baby is going to be truly motivated to crawl and roll around!
Playing with Pom Pom Bottle
Pom pom bottle is just a big gallon sized water bottle filled with pom poms and some colorful buttons. It’s great for practicing gross motor skills because it grabs baby’s interest and makes baby move!
The bottle is colorful and because of the buttons makes sound just like a rattle. Read more about the activity here.
Doing activities with your baby is very beneficial for everyone involved! It helps baby with gross motor skills and it makes you happy – because who wouldn’t be happy looking at a little baby crawling through the tunnel or playing with a ball? It also creates tons of beautiful memories you and your baby will cherish forever. Take lots of pictures and videos! How nice would it be to be able to show videos and pictures to your child when he/she is older?!
What are some of the activities you like to do with your infant? Let us know about your best tips and activities that practice gross motor skills!
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