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What the heck is gross motor development?!
Gross motor development is how we learn to move our bodies, to build strength, balance, and coordination.
Early gross motor development includes: head control, rolling, reaching, sitting, and crawling.
As your child transitions from infancy to toddlerhood, she will begin to master gross motor skills like, standing, walking, running, jumping, throwing, and so much more!
As a physical therapist, gross motor skills are my primary focus and is area of expertise.
There are also many things we can do as parents to help our children developing their gross motor skills.
I will tell you, that tummy time is one of the best things we can do for our children and their development of gross motor skills. Check out this post for some great tummy time ideas!
Below I have some awesome recommended toys for infants and toddlers, that will help foster their development of gross motor milestones.
You will notice that I did not include any infant seats, walkers, exersaucers or jumpers. Check out these posts below to understand why.
SO without further ado, here are some of my favorite gross motor development toys for infants and toddlers!
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INFANT GROSS MOTOR GEAR AND TOYS:
1. Activity gym - Infantino Twist and Fold Activity Gym - This is great to promote reaching and hand-eye coordination. Your baby can enjoy this one on her back, laying on her side, or during tummy time!
2. Mirror - Sassy Tummy Time Floor Mirror - A mirror is a very effective tool to make tummy time more fun and therefore easier for you and your baby!
4. Bouncer - Fisher-Price Baby's Bouncer - You don’t want to overuse bouncers or other “containers” but this bouncer does promote some hand-eye coordination for reaching. Also great for when you really need that quick shower!
5. Newborn Lounger - Boppy Original Newborn Lounger - This is great tool for letting baby be a little more upright without using infant seats. Check out why I do NOT recommend infant seats here. This lounger can also be a great tool to prevent flat head syndrome in infants.
6. Boppy Pillow - Boppy Original Nursing Pillow and Positioner - I put the boppy pillow in this section rather than the breastfeeding section, because I really only used the boppy pillow for tummy time. I have lots of good tummy time ideas in this post!
8. Play Mat
- Foam Foldable Play Mat - Here is a more mobile and easier to pick up and put away alternative to foam tiles. Again, this is a great way to give your baby a safe and forgiving space to move her body.
9. Exercise Ball - URBNFit Exercise Ball - This is one of my all-time favorites for infants! This exercise ball is a great way to incoorporate tummy time. Check out this post to see how the exercise ball can be use during tummy time!
TODDLER GROSS MOTOR GEAR AND TOYS:
2. Activity Play Set - SoftZone Climb and Crawl Activity Play Set - This activity play set facilitates crawling and walking on uneven surfaces and is so much fun for toddlers!
4. Water Table - Step2 Summer Showers Splash Tower Water Table - This really has gross motor and fine motor components, but what a great way to work on standing balance, side stepping, reaching and more!
5. Activity Table - LeapFrog Learn & Groove Musical Table, Green, Great Gift For Kids, Toddlers - Again, arguably a fine motor toy, but completing a fine motor tasks while also standing or sidestepping without losing your balance is a good challenge for any young toddler.
6. Toddler Bike - SKL Baby Balance Bike for 10-24 Months - This toddler bike is awesome for the early walker. It's also a fun way for your child to practice propelling a bike in preparation for the real thing!
7. Kickball - Melissa & Doug Giddy Buggy Kickball - Throw, kick, catch! Balls are so important for gross motor development and hand-eye coordination.
8. Pull Toy - PlanToys Wooden Dancing Alligator Pull Toy - A toddler will need to master walking first, but then a pull toy can be a unique challenge to navigate around obstacles.
9. Toddler Table and Chairs - Melissa & Doug Tables & Chairs 3-Piece Set - Getting in and out of a chair and sitting at a table to work on a task are important functional skills for toddlers to learn.
11. Rainsuit - Vine Kids One Piece Rainsuit Coverall Baby Waterproof Jumpsuit - It is a whole other ballgame practicing gross motor skills outside. Walking on uneven surfaces means way more falls and this waterproof suit can be a real lifesaver on wet days!
12. Pikler Triangle - CASSARO Pikler Triangle Large - This is the coolest! The pickler triangle is a montessori favorite and gives children endless entertainment as they practice their climbing skills.