Wednesday 11 December 2019

PARENTHOOD: How to Support your Childs Gross Motor Skills Outdoors

How to Support your Childs Gross Motor Skills Outdoors
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Gross motor skills are those that require your whole body to move, as well as the use of the larger muscles in our bodies to perform everyday activities including walking, standing, running and jumping. Hand-eye coordination is also a big part of our gross motor skills, which enable us to complete activities such as throw, catch, kick, ride a bike and swim. Supporting your child's gross motor skill development is really important as it allows them to do everyday activities, like climbing and walking, but also self-care skills like getting dressed, getting out of bed or climbing into a car. We use our gross motor skills almost constantly throughout the day, so ensuring children develop them successfully from a young age sets them up with skills for life. 

There are many ways us as parents can support the development of our children's gross motor skills in the big outdoors, some of which are:

  • Move through different spaces - Outdoor parks, playgrounds and/or play equipment provide the perfect opportunity for children to explore, practice and develop a whole range of gross motor skills. Crawling through tunnels, climbing up ladders, sliding down slides and swinging on swings all help children to practice their balance and build up their strength for performing these skills independently. Fatmoose bring Scandinavian style to their outstanding quality range of wooden climbing frames, swing and slide sets, playhouses and sandpits, all of which are ideal for children to develop their gross motor skills on. There are a wide array of different size climbing frames and sets, so you can find the perfect one for your outdoor space. Below are some of my favourite climbing fames from Fatmoose: 
  • Repeat, repeat, repeat - As adults we can't learn something instantly and neither can children, so giving them the opportunity to practice, practice and practice some more then they are much more likely to pick up the skills. This could be regular trips to the park, a Fatmoose swing and slide set in your garden, going on a bike ride, attending physical children's classes like Tumble Tots/Rugby Tots/Little Kickers etc.

  • Keep it fun - We all know that the best way to engage children is to make whatever you're doing fun, which often only needs a little imagination. For example, if you do have a climbing frame in your garden or one at your local park then you can make endless game up based around it. These could be timed races between siblings/friends, a challenge of getting from one end to the other without touching the floor, getting across the climbing frame on one foot or by hopping, hang different prizes/clues around the climbing frame for children to retrieve, hide and seek with objects or pictures around the area...the list could go on.
  • Provide an array of experiences - A lot of the time this is done without thinking about it, but if you have concerns about your child's gross motor skills or want to focus on developing them then it can be worth ensuring there is a range of activities/experiences available to them on a regular basis. These could be ride on toys (balance or pedal bike, scooter, cars, trikes etc.), climbing frames, swings, ball games, trampolines, balance bars, skipping ropes, sprinklers in the summer months, swimming, 'Simon Says' game, action songs, imitate the movement of different animals etc. 
Exploring the outdoors, having fun and developing gross motor skills all work together so well and is such an accessible way for parents to support their children. 

Will/do you make the most of the outdoors for giving your children opportunities to practice their gross motor skills?

Feel free to leave a comment - I love reading every single one :)

Helen x


  1. These are all great tips. I had to loose my instincts of saying no to jasmine when we played outdoors and follow her lead. If she wants to pick up sticks or splash in muddy puddles I let her, as I see how much she learns from exploring.

  2. These climbing frames look amazing. Erin would love any of them.

  3. I think it is important to let kids climb and crawl and slide on things. Play equipment and being in the great outdoors is such a big part of childhood.

  4. Such great tips, simple things that we don't think about but are absolutely important to ensure our kids use theres.

  5. Love this and yes getting outdoors has so many benefits and can help with both physical and mental wellbeing and development

    Laura x


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