Large Motor Skills


Play is crucial to the development of children’s gross and fine motor skills. Through play, children practice and perfect control and coordination of large body movements, as well as small movements of hands and fingers. We support young children’s motor development by planning play activities that provide children with regular opportunities to move their bodies.


Activities to Support Gross Motor Development

Large motor skills involve control of the arms, legs, head, and trunk. Child care providers can help children develop gross motor skills by building in opportunities for children to

  • run
  • jump
  • hop
  • throw and catch
  • climb up, down, over, under and through things
  • pedal tricycles or other ride-on toys
  • push and pull
  • dump and fill

Specific activities that support gross motor development include running at different speeds, jumping rope, playing hopscotch, tossing and catching balls of different sizes, pitching bean bags, climbing in many different directions, pedaling riding toys, pulling wagons or toys, pushing toy strollers or brooms, and filling and emptying buckets and other containers. Remember that gross motor development happens inside as well as outside. A crawling tunnel, ride-on car, or pull toy can help children practice large movements of their arms and legs.


Activities to Support Fine Motor Development

Fine motor skills involve the careful control of small muscles in the hands, feet, fingers, and toes. Controlling the     muscles of the tongue and lips in order to speak or sing is also a fine motor skill. We plan activities that encourage children’s developing fine motor skills such as: 

  • play dough or clay with plastic tools such as scissors or cookie cutters to form into various shapes
  • blocks of various sizes to stack and arrange
  • beads, macaroni, rigatoni or wheel-shaped cereal to string on yarn or shoelaces
  • puzzles with varying size handles or knobs
  • scissors, paints, brushes, markers, crayons, and large chalk that are all child-safe