Gross Motor

The ability to use large and small muscle groups that coordinate body movements involved in activities such as walking, running, jumping, throwing, writing, maintaining balance, buttoning, cutting, visual tracking, and tracing.

What Are Gross Motor Skills?

Gross motor skills are the skills we use to move our arms, legs, and torso in a functional manner. Gross motor skills involve the large muscles of the body that enable such functions as walking, kicking, sitting upright, lifting, and throwing a ball. A person’s gross motor skills depend on both muscle tone and strength. Gross Motor skills are important for major body movement such as walking, maintaining balance, coordination, jumping, and reaching.

What are some signs and symptoms of gross motor disorder?

Signs and symptoms include any of the following: Is late in reaching developmental milestones; moves stiffly or looks “awkward”/clumsy; avoids physical activity or participates in physical activity for only short periods (has low endurance); cannot perform the same skills as his peers; does not perform movement safely (e.g. climbing); needs to put in more effort than his peers to complete a task; or loses the skill if he does not keep practicing it.

If your child is experiencing any of the above, he/she may be at risk for:

poor balance and coordination; tripping/falling; difficulty with activities of daily living (dressing, feeding self, etc.); difficulty chewing and swallowing food; poor articulation of sound; or difficulty maintaining a functional posture while seated at a table or on the floor.


Skills expected at various ages are listed below:


Birth - 2 Months

Raises head slightly off floor or bed when on stomach; holds head up momentarily when supported; alternates kicking legs when on back.

3 - 5 Months

Lifts head and chest when on stomach (props on forearm); head control improving; some head bobbing in supported sitting; rolls from side to side; rolls from stomach to back; sits briefly with arm support; random batting at objects; hands to midline; makes crawling movements

6 - 8 Months

Reaches to objects on stomach; pivots around when on stomach; pulls self forward on stomach; rolls from back to stomach; sits alone briefly; assumes “all four’s” position and rocks; moves from sitting to lying on stomach; stands with support

9 - 11 Months

Sits alone; pivots and scoots in sitting; creeps or crawls; pulls to stand; cruises; stands alone momentarily

12 - 15 Months

Assumes tall kneeling; walks on knees; walks independently without support; able to stand without support; creeps up stairs; able to start, stop and turn without falling while walking

16 - 18 Months

Walks with heel-toe pattern, seldom falls; walks sideways and backwards; runs stiffly; stands on one foot with help; kicks large ball forward after demonstration; manages riding toys.

19 - 24 Months

Walks down one step at a time with rail or hand holding; squats in play and stands back up; jumps in place; kicks a stationary ball

24 - 29 Months

Walks up stairs one step at a time with no railing; runs well; briefly stands on one foot; throws ball overhead; climbs on play equipment-ladders, slides, etc.

2 - 3 Years

Walks down stairs step-by-step without railing; jumps forward at least one foot; walks on tip toe when asked

3 - 4 Years

Catches a bounced ball; rides a tricycle; balances on one foot 2-5 seconds; walks up stairs step-over-step alone

4 - 5 Years

Balances on one foot 4-8 seconds; walks down stairs step over step alone; kicks a rolling ball; throws a small ball overhand

5 - 6 Years

Balances on one foot 10 seconds; skips; catches bounced or thrown ball with hands; walks on heels when asked

If you have concerns for your child’s development with Gross Motor Skills, contact us today for a FREE screening!

Fields marked with an * are required