We have been speaking of Gross Motor Skills on our blog lately, and are doing/ sharing a lots of activities and helpful resources to strengthen Gross motors in our little ones.
But WHY all this emphasis on Gross Motor Skills Development?
What EXACTLY are Gross Motors?
Gross motors involve your baby’s large muscles movement and your baby’s over all strength, balance and co-ordination. Why one normal healthy baby or toddler sits, walks, crawls, runs, kicks etc at a different pace from another, COMPLETELY depends on their Gross Motor Skills.
And to give you a deeper and more meaningful perspective, how well your kid will perform in the classroom, how generally inclined they will be towards academics, extra curriculum and sports, how good they will be in handling inter personal relationships and how refined their fine motor activities like writing, painting, general physical health will be, it is all dependent on their gross motors development.
You can go through our post A Layman’s Guide to Babies Developmental Skills for a quick insight, and if you want to read about Gross Motors in detail, we found this article on the web to be very comprehensive and useful.
Our aim is to make an average desi mom aware of the importance of Gross motor skills development in the physical, mental, emotional and social growth of our kids.
Outdoor play is EXCELLENT for Gross Motor development, but considering the fact that it is extremely hot these days, you could always substitute outdoor play with some great Gross Motor toys which are made to build up on your little one’s Gross Motor specifically. So even if you do not have a lots of time at hand to sit and perform structured activities, you can alternatively choose your toys wisely in order to grow their Gross motor skills.
We have compiled a list of top 10 excellent GROSS MOTOR TOY IDEAS, along with the links where you can find out more about them.
Crawling Toys/ Press n’ Crawl Toys
Your baby will start preparing for crawling somewhere around their 6th month once they have gained the muscle strength from Tummy time, mini-pushups, rolling and sitting. It sometimes takes a few months before they finally start to crawl, but you can always encourage them by using moving toys with lights and sounds.
Some great crawling toys ideas for our desi moms residing abroad are Fisher Price Touch n’ Crawl Tiger, Fisher Price Crawl Along Snail, Fisher Price Press and Crawl Turtle. We have personally used Fisher Price Laugh n’ Learn Puppy’s smart train ever since the girl was 6 months old, and still love it as it grows with your baby in different stages.
Fisher Price toys are usually always a safe bet and great value for money. For desi moms, some toys which will encourage babies to crawl are Fisher Price Laugh n’ Learn ABC Train, Tomy Tap n’ Toddle Elephant, Moving Train with throwing Balls etc.
Play Tunnels are a GREAT FUN for toddlers, and an excellent source of providing a trigger to their upper and lower body muscles and joints. It also triggers imaginative play in kids. They are inexpensive compared to other battery operated toys. You can use them separately or along with a play tent or hut.You can get a simple basic one for as low as about 10$ like this 6 Feet Play Tunnel or theme based tunnels like this Melissa & Doug Sunny Patch Happy Giddy Tunnel. We use Busa Play Tunnel by Ikea at our place. It’s a basic one and just as good as the other ones.
We would try to look around for Play Tunnels for our desi moms and update you on where they are available. However, we do promise you a zero cost, budget friendly Tunnel activity soon, which will serve the purpose of a toy Play Tunnel 🙂 Alternatively, You can also get Play Tents like this multicolored Play Tent House , or this Play Tent by Intex or an inflatable one by Intex
Push and Pull Toys
Babies love Push and Pull toys, and other than the fun factor, they are a great way to help little ones stand or walk. These toys build up their strength, balance and coordination which is required for standing, walking and running. These Push and Pull toys are a great substitute for traditional walkers, which are not advised to be used now. (We will follow a separate post on Walkers’ Pros and Cons). Most Push and Pull Toys are for multi use, like they come with sorting options, balls or pretend play which is another plus.
Our most favorite Push and Pull Toy is Vtech Sit to Stand Learning Walker, which is available in some leading local stores too. For our Desi Moms, this WinFun Grow with me Musical Walker is a great cost effective alternative to the Vtech’s Walker. Other nice ideas for Push and Pull Toys are Fisher Price Little Snoopy Puppy, LeapFrog Alphapup, Fisher Price Caterpillar Learning machine.
Ride on Toys
Ride on Toys are an excellent source of exercising those large and small muscles. They are an excellent idea for Gross motor toys. You can find different types of ride on toys like the basic ones without pedals pushed with feet (THE BEST), rocking horses, ones with pedals and wheels like Tricycles and motorized ones. Although some parents get fascinated by the motorized ride on toys, we would recommend using the ones which make use of body muscles movements.
Some ideas for Ride on Toys are Little Tikes Cozy Truck, Little Tikes Ride on Giraffe, Vtech sit to stand alphabet train, Step 2 Whisper Ride. And THIS addooorable Fisher Price 3-in-1 Bounce, Stride & Ride Elephant is what we use at our place as a ride on toy 🙂
Trampolines/ Jumping Castles
Amazing for building up physical strength, jumping on Trampolines greatly contributes to muscles strength, planning, controlling and coordination. This physical activity involves the brain for planning and control which is why studies showed that trampolining impacts on academics, self esteem & persistence too.
Inflated Wobbly Punching Gross Motor toys
These are great as they are sooper safe for a 6 months old. When a baby bats or pushes it, they wobble or move back and forth.
Intex has a wide variety and fun animals that you can choose from like this colorful Tiger, or a penguin, shark etc. (Our girl has a Penguin & she LOVES it 🙂 ) Fisher Price has some very cute bat and wobble toys too like this Bat n Wobble Musical Lion or this cute penguin, which are more advanced with options like music, sounds etc.
Kids love to climb and whoosh down the slides. Not only is it an exciting play, it is also great for learning balance and coordination and exercising those large muscle movements.
Little Tikes slides are great for toddlers and are great value for the money. You can take your little one to an outdoor park time for some slides fun too 🙂
Toys which make your little one aim the toy and throw help strengthen their arm, hands and upper body large muscles, and increase hand eye coordination.
Balls & Ball Pit
Balls are a MUST have and there is just NO LIMIT to how many and which sizes and textures. Playing with balls encourages soooo many types of movements like rolling, crawling, walking, throwing, kicking etc.
Activity tables/centers, Jumparoos, Exersaucers
These activity and exercise oriented tables or centers, exersaucers and Jumperoos give your little ones’ body muscles a much needed exercise, and give you a safe break to do the chores. They are designed to encourage your little one in jumping, moving around and using hands and legs for Gross as well as Fine Motor development. Same goes for activity tables, although the baby isn’t jumping but he will be standing with support and moving around the table in order to play keeping his hands busy too.
This activity table is great and comes with a lots of options. Although you will find activity centers/ exersaucers of many variety, we used this Rainforest theme one by Fisher Price and found it great.
Do let us know in the comment section below which ones of these have you used and found out to be great for Gross Motors. Also, add any Gross motor toys ideas that we have not included in the list 🙂