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Gross motor toys refer to the toys that help children develop gross motor skills. You may have noticed as your child grows older that their energy is wearing you out! Well, those high levels of energy in childhood are associated with the development of their gross motor skills.
The development of these skills often explain why young children are constantly on the move during the early years. This is a period marked by considerable physical development.
Gross motor skills refer to the skills children need to control large muscles such as their legs and arms. These skills enable them to perfect movements such as walking, balancing, sitting, crawling, coordinating, jumping, running, skipping, climbing, throwing, catching, kicking, cycling, and so on.
The development of these skills is important because gross motor skills are tied to fine motor skills. In other words, the stronger your child’s leg, arm, and trunk muscles, the easier it will be for them to master the activities that require them to use their small muscles group.
The good news is that gross motor toys can help your child develop their gross motor skills in an easy and enjoyable way. Here are just a few gross motor toys that your child will love depending on their age.
Heads up! Although I have divided the gross motor toys presented here into age categories, most of the toys proposed can be used by kids in all the categories. Sometimes, they can be used as they are (for example a monkey bar can be used by kids of varying ages) and other times, you only have to change the size and choose one which corresponds to your child’s age (for example, kids of almost all ages can use bikes so long as they correspond to their age).
So, let’s get started.
Gross motor toys for babies
This multipurpose playset is a perfect gross motor toy for developing crawlers’ gross motor skills. This is also a perfect open ended toy because the different options will allow your child to play in many different ways.
They will be able to explore new colors and new textures safely as they develop other skills such as their fine motor skills and their hand/eye coordination.
Crawling toys make good gross motor toys because they encourage your child to use their leg and thigh muscles and to strengthen their arm muscles as well.
From age one, your child will love playing with this Little Tikes Learn & Play 2-in-1 Activity Tunnel which also proposes activities to develop their fine motor skills.
Pull along toys
Pull along toys are great gross motor toys because they encourage your child to keep active. I love this wooden walking toy by Janod which is also a musical toy!
Both you and your baby will also love this Hape frog pull-along!
Any type of push toy is a great gross motor toy. Your baby will love this Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Baby Walker and Musical Learning Toy, and they can use it from as early as six months.
They will also learn about shapes, colors and sounds and get to practice up to seven different hands-on activities.
Gross motor toys for kids between ages 1 and 2
The Step2 Sports-Tastic Activity Center Playset is a climbing toy that your child will love. It will help them develop their gross motor skills by encouraging them to crawl and slide. You’ll love that this gross motor toy comes with storage space and is easy to clean!
The Ikkle toddler climbing toy is cute and extremely stable!
Your child will love climbing it, hiding in it, sitting and crawling in it, and doing whatever else that they can imagine!
Your 1-year-old will absolutely love their first trampoline which is a great toy for developing gross motor skills. To ensure their safety, the trampoline is padded and the handles are easy to grip. I love that you can use it both indoors and outdoors.
A bilibo is a resistant, open-ended toy that is great for developing your child’s gross motor skills. Your child can play with it in so many ways – climbing, spinning, drumming – from age two.
Ride-on toys that your kid has to push with their feet are great for gross motor development. I love this one because it’s cute, but also because it uses high quality materials and has a perfect finish.
Gross motor toys for kids between ages 3 and 5
A balancing toy
Balancing toys help your child develop many different gross motor skills and they also make good open ended toys. These steppingstones which come in 6 bright colors will ensure that your child gets endless gross motor play to strengthen their muscles, their stability and their sense of coordination.
Like steppingstones, balance boards are great gross motor toys that can help develop children’s gross motor skills. They help them develop a sense of balance and encourages them to work on their posture.
Balance boards are also good open-ended toys, meaning that your child can use them in whichever way they see fit – as a swing, a steppingstone, a tunnel, a goal post, and so on.
A three wheeled scooter
Scooters are good gross motor toys that can help your child work on their arm, leg and thigh muscles. Your child will love this one which is designed for kids from age 2 up to age 5. This scooter is a great choice to help them practice their balance and coordination.
Pikler triangles are one of the best gross motor toys because they allow your child to practice numerous skills – pulling, pushing, balancing, gripping, crawling, climbing – and they can be used by several kids at the same time.
A good quality Pikler triangle is a good investment because your child(ren) can use it for years!
Gross motor toy board game
Your child will love the classic and interactive The Floor is Lava game that will force them to work on their large muscles group. They’ll be challenged to perfect their balance and problem solving skills.
You’ve probably already noticed that kids just cannot resist bouncing toys. They will love this Little Tikes bouncing ball which will help them develop their coordination skills.
Gross motor toys for kids between ages 6 and 7
From age 4, your child will enjoy tossing dice and imitating the yoga poses proposed. This is a gross motor activity that will allow them to move their body in different ways. It’s also a great gross motor toy the entire family will enjoy!
Climbing toys are the ultimate toys for building gross-motor skills and your child will be unable to resist the Eezy Peezy Climbing Frame.
This toy will ensure years of active playtime involving pulling, pushing, twisting, balancing and so on. And they can use it both indoors and outdoors!
Pop and catch games
Both you and your child will enjoy Pop and catch games which help children develop several skills: gross motor and fine motor skills, focus and concentration skills, and so on. Your child is expected to focus on a specific object, usually a ball, and to catch it before it touches the ground. They will love playing with this one both indoors and outdoors!
Hula hoops are great gross motor toys that can help develop your child’s posture, flexibility and balance.
Any target games in which your child is expected to touch a specific target are great at helping strengthen their arm muscles and their balance.
Such games are also good for fine motor skill development. The Prextex Carnival Combo Set is a good example of a great target game, and you can vary the distance to make the game more interesting or more challenging for your child.
Gross motor toys for kids above age 8
Although kids aged 8 years and above can benefit from the majority of the gross motor toys presented above, at this age, encouraging your child to participate in different physical activities is great for them: swimming, soccer, dance, martial arts and so on.
Proposing activities at home such as obstacle races or ball games is another easy and fun way to help strengthen their gross motor development.
Gross motor toys are not the only way to help develop your child’s gross motor skills. There are many free, easy and simple activities that you can encourage your child to do every day. This article proposes easy activities that your child can start doing from today, with or without gross motor toys!