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Gross motor skills: birth to 5 years

Gross motor skills: Birth to 5 years 

Gross motor skills involve the larger muscles in the arms, legs and torso. Gross motor activities include walking, running, throwing, lifting, kicking, etc. These skills also relate to body awareness, reaction speed, balance and strength. Here are general guidelines for gross motor development for children ages 0 to 5 years.  

3-4 months 

  • Can raise head when pulled to sitting position 

4 months 

  • Rolls from back to side 

5 months 

  • Rolls from back to front 

6 months 

  • Can raise chest and upper part of abdomen (when on stomach) 

7 months 

  • Can bear weight on one hand while exploring with the other hand (when on stomach) 

6-7 months 

  • Sits alone 

8-10 months 

  • Crawls 

10-11 months 

  • Cruises around furniture 

9-12 months 

  • Reaches actively for toy (when in sitting position) 

11-12 months  

  • Pulls to a standing position 

15 months 

  • Walks alone well 
  • Squats and stands back up 
  • Walks up and down steps holding hand 

18 months 

  • Can run, though falls easily 

2 years 

  • Walks and runs fairly well 
  • Can jump with both feet 
  • Can climb stairs without support 
  • Can kick a ball 

3 years 

  • Can balance on one foot for a few seconds 
  • Can broad jump 10-24 inches 
  • Can catch a large ball 

By 4 years 

  • Can run, jump and climb well, is beginning to skip 
  • Hops proficiently on one foot 
  • Catches a ball reliably 
  • Can ride a tricycle 
  • Begins somersaults 

By 5 years 

  • Can skip on alternate feet and jump rope 
  • Beginning to skate and swim 
  • Climbing well 

Note: Physical Therapy addresses problems related to physical and motor skill development.  

This information is a general guide to help you determine if your child is progressing at the rate expected for his or her age. Please keep in mind that each child is unique and develops skills at their own rate. If you are concerned about your child's development, a physician or therapist may be able to assist with an evaluation.  

Information provided by Liz Triesler, PT, CIMI, Physical Therapist and Certified Infant Massage Instructor, and Sallie Tidman, OT/L, Director of Therapy Services.