Gross Motor skills

This video lesson is designed for 6-9 years old children. It guides through the importance of gross motor skills and the opinion of experts on why children should take part in these activities at an early age. Towards the end of the video, a few related activities are given to develop gross motor skills in the child and boost their creativity.

Motor skills help children to move and do their daily tasks, such as playing, feeding themselves, moving from place to place, etc. Therefore, it is essential for a child’s overall development. Let us understand what are gross motor skills and their importance. 

What are Gross motor skills?

The body develops motor skills in a pattern–from the head downwards, from the body out to the limbs, and finally to the fingers, toes, etc. 

Gross motor skills involve whole-body movements. It uses the large muscles of the torso, legs, and arms in the body to allow for balance, coordination, reaction time, and physical strength so that we can walk, run, and jump. 

To maintain balance and coordination of the body, the muscles must work in cooperation with the neurological system and develop gross motor skills as the child ages.

3 Different Types of Gross Motor Movements:

  1. Locomotion: It means movement. Locomotion refers to the movements a child makes to get from one place to another. For example, rolling, crawling, walking, running, climbing, etc.
  2. Stationary skills: These refer to movement in a stationary place. For example, head control, balance, rising, falling, stretching, etc.
  3. Manipulation: It refers to moving objects in different ways. For example, pushing, pulling, throwing, kicking, etc.

Components of Gross Motor Skills

There are lots of different components that make up gross motor skills, including:

  • Balance
  • Muscular Strength and Endurance
  • Sensory processing and coordination
  • Motor planning
  • Body awareness and postural control
  • Weight shifting
  • Muscle Tone (Addressing low or high muscle tone)

Why are gross motor skills important?

Gross motor skills help children perform everyday functions, such as walking, running, dancing, etc. However, these are crucial for everyday activities such as dressing, preparing food, climbing stairs, etc. Gross motor abilities also have an influence on maintaining body postures like keeping the head straight and stretching the arms while posing for yoga posture, or keeping your hand still while playing, etc. It affects the child’s endurance to cope with a full day of school or navigating in the environment. Without fair gross motor skills, a child will struggle with many day-to-day tasks such as eating, packing away their toys, etc.

Gross Motor Skills and Montessori education

In the video, the author talks about the book “Advanced Montessori method”, which mentions the importance of music, meter, rhythm, and movement for a child at the elementary level. 

Dr. Montessori envisioned holistic education for children, where they were free to explore creativity using their imagination. 

The Montessori classroom, the environment and the materials are also beautifully designed to develop gross motor skills in children. 

“Watching a child makes it obvious that the development of mind comes through his movements” – Dr. Maria Montessori

The rhythm, movements, drama, and music are introduced to the child at the elementary level. In the Montessori environment, drama is also introduced in grades 1 to 5, where children read and dramatically enact commands.

Dr. Maria Montessori developed interactive musical instruments to help the child familiarize themself easily with the musical notes.

According to the experts in Montessori education, a child should have two characteristics:

  1. Love to play 
  2. Sense of discipline

Children develop both of them with perseverance and mastery. 

This video also guides on how to continue with the practice of developing gross motor skills at home, especially during challenging times like the current pandemic. 

Watch the video and learn from experts on how sports, martial arts, theater, and dance help children develop gross motor skills. 

Note: 3 P’s of activities ( Practice, Perfect, and Perform!) helps children learn new skills and develop new hobbies.

List of gross motor activities for 6-9-year-old children

When thinking up gross motor activities, the possibilities are endless. 

  1. Hopscotch: Children love hopscotch. Make it trickier with zigzag curves to walk on, markers to leap-frog on, or even take away the numbers and use the names of the planets. Use chalk or colored painter’s tapes, which don’t leave a residue. 
  2. Ballon Olympics: If you have balloons at home, you can make our own balloon Olympics and try out these activities: 
    • Balloon hop: Place the balloon between your legs and hop to the line without dropping them.
    • Balloon tennis: Grab two paper plates and toss the balloon to each other.
    • Foot-balloon: Dribble a balloon using your feet into the cardboard on its side.
    • Balloon head: Keep boppin a balloon with your head and see who can do it for a longer time without touching it.
    • Balloon yoga: Try out some yoga poses while balancing the balloon.
  3. Tile ladder: If your flooring is made up of evenly spaced tiles, use them for interesting agile activities such as a ladder. See how many rungs of ladder you can jump across starting from the first? Hop into each and pretend the rungs are tall and therefore, you need to lift those knees up while leaping up on them. 
  4. Bin-ball: Find objects that are safe to throw across the room, such as softballs, paper balls, balled-up socks, etc. Let your child practice aiming and throwing these balls into the bin placed a few feet away. Make it complex as the child achieves the skill. 
  5. DIY musical shakers: Go with your child’s interest here. Rhythm, imagination, and colossal tasks are perfect challenges for 6-9 year olds to build gross motor skills. You can start with easy instruments, such as mustard seed shakers, tissue box guitars, or water can drums. Find the rhythm that they can practice properly. 
  6. Creating a theater play: Create your own musical theater at home, write the script, costume, theme, etc, and practice and play with the child at home. 

Another list of gross motor activities that can be played at home

  1. Simon says: Simon Says is a fun way to help your child improve movements. Ask the child to act when you say, “Simon says, the child starts jumping”. Continue with different movements. You can make the game more engaging by adding moments with their interest such as dancing like your favorite animal or actor, hopping like a rabbit, etc.
  2. Yoga: Yoga also helps in improving gross motor skills by posing for various postures and keeping the body fit. It is good for the mind, body, and soul.
  3. Dance: It stimulates gross motor skills, expresses freedom and creativity, and teaches rhythm at the same time. Choose songs or rhymes your child loves, play and dance with them. As a result, balance, coordination, sensory perception, motor learning, and body awareness are all developed.
  4. Obstacle Course: Setting up a small obstacle course with objects found easily around the house is a great way to build several gross motor skills into one activity. Use pillows, quilts, cushions, etc. to create stepping stones, tunnels, or a passage to create the obstacle course. 

Watch the video to learn more about the importance of developing gross motor skills as they work, play, and learn and how activities like sports, martial arts, dance, music, theater, etc help them the children develop these skills.


Related videos

To watch more Montessori video resources, click here

Video created by Aishwarya | I teach I learn

Primary | Movement | Gross Motor (English)

This video has been added and used with the author’s permission. It is also available on the author’s YouTube, here.


 


Tags

  • Elementary
  • English
  • gross motor
  • Practical Life