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.
- Can raise head when pulled to sitting position
- Can raise chest and upper part of abdomen (when on stomach)
- Can bear weight on one hand while exploring with the other hand (when on stomach)
- Reaches actively for toy (when in sitting position)
- Pulls to a standing position
- Walks alone well
- Squats and stands back up
- Walks up and down steps holding hand
- Can run, though falls easily
- Walks and runs fairly well
- Can jump with both feet
- Can climb stairs without support
- Can kick a ball
- 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.