What Makes an Effective Gross Motor Activity for Toddlers?

An effective gross motor activity for toddlers is one that requires them to make larger movements that develop the muscles in their arms, legs, feet or entire body. A variety of activities is essential to keeping the attention of the toddler and to work various muscle groups.

Gross motor activities should allow the toddler to exercise the large muscles in his legs, arms and entire body to further develop strength, but also to hone muscle control. These activities are a follow-up to the strength the toddler gained in these muscles as a baby by lifting his head, rolling over and sitting up.

Pushing and pulling is a good motor activity for toddlers. This can be practiced by providing the toddler with a wagon or a toy shopping cart or lawn mower. Climbing is another good activity. Toddlers can be assisted up a set of stairs or provided with a low stool to practice standing on.

Walking and marching games can help to develop coordination and leg strength. Some activities include having the toddler walk on a line, pretend to be a galloping horse or be chased during a play game. Toddlers can also practice hopping and jumping by bunny hopping or jumping down from a step or curb.

Toddlers should also be encouraged to work on throwing and kicking skills. To practice throwing, toddlers can practice throwing balls or bean bags. Toddlers can also be given balls or other small objects to kick around a room.