What are gross motor skills?
Gross motor skills are the physical skills that require whole body movement and that involve the large muscles of the body.
We need to have sufficient gross motor skills so that we can perform everyday functions such as standing, walking, running, jumping and sitting upright at a desk.
Gross motor skills include development of the large muscles of the body, as well as coordination skills.
Why are gross motor skills important?
Gross motor skills are important to enable children to perform their activities of daily living. This includes walking, running, climbing a jungle gym, participating in sports, getting dressed independently, getting on and off their chair in class, etc.
It is also important for these large, core muscles to be well developed as it provides children with a stable base of support when required to sit upright at their desk, whilst completing an activity. Most of a child's day is spent at school, sitting at their desk, so you can see why these muscles are so important! We don't want our kids to get physically tired too early in the day, as it will have a negative impact on their output in class.
Gross motor skills provide the foundation for fine motor skills! Without this solid foundation, children may experience difficulties with developing sufficient fine motor skills, such as drawing, writing and cutting.
Poor gross motor skills can also lead to difficulties with visual tasks. Our eyes require a stable base of support too, so that they can do their job efficiently. Children often need to read or copy a lot of work from the board, so their eyes need to be able to quickly look up and down throughout the day. The eyes can do their job a lot better if they have the support they need from the core muscles.
As you can see, gross motor skills provide the foundation for all other skills. This is why they're so important!