Running, climbing stairs, kicking a ball, and learning to ride a bike are all examples of gross motor developmental milestones.

There are typical age spans when children often reach different milestones, which are achieved though the way a child develops through movement, and play.

The summer season is a great time to find ways to help your child develop and achieve gross motor developmental milestones, through play. Below we will discuss certain milestones that children typically achieve through ages 1 to 6 years old and tips to help your child develop to the best of their ability, through play this summer!

Typical milestones developed between the ages of 1 and 6 years old include:

16-19 months: running stiffly, walking up stairs with one hand held

20-13 months: jumping in place, walking down stairs with one hand held

24 to 27 months: kicks ball

28 – 31 months: throws ball 5 to 7 feet

3-3½ years old: walks upstairs with feet on alternating steps (no rail), jumps forward on both feet, walks backwards

3½ – 4 years old: hops on preferred foot 3 times

4-4½ years old: walks up and down stairs with feet on alternating steps and without a rail, catches a large ball with elbows bent, stands on one foot for 6 second

4½– 5 years old: jumps backwards, swings self on swing

5 to 5½ years old: walks on balance beam forward, backward, and sideways

5 ½– 6 years old: jumps rope, rides bicycle with training wheels, kicks rolling ball

It’s evident that children are rapidly developing new skills through the first 6 years of their life. Below are tips on how you can help your child develop their gross motor skills this year, while they are playing outside!

Tip #1: Get the chalk out! Drawing different hop scotch designs on the pavement is a great way to help your child develop gross motor skills such as hopping forward and backwards on two feet, on one foot and hopping side to side. These fun jumping activities will help develop leg strength and balance!

Tip #2: Let your child climb up the slide! Climbing up the slide is a great way to develop upper body strength! In addition, your child will also be pushing from their legs which will help develop their Quadriceps and glute strength!

Tip #3: Include play based squatting! Help your young child develop their leg strength by placing multiple small balls or bean bags on the ground, have the child bend from the legs to pick up the ball and push back up before putting it in a net placed above!

Tip#4: Walk around the edge of the park! Use curbs and the box surrounding some parks as a balance beam!

Tip#5: Practice climbing the stairs on the park! Although this can be tricky, a child may be more motivated to climb the stairs at the park, if there is a fun slide waiting at the top!

This summer, assist and encourage your children to try the monkey bars at the park, join a summer sports league to help develop their coordination, and don’t forget about family bike rides, swims & hikes!

It’s important to remember that each child is unique and develops at their own rate. Not every child will progress at the same rate as the typical milestones listed above, but encouraging children to develop through play, helps promote positive growth.

If you are concerned about your child’s gross motor development in any way, don’t hesitate to contact a physiotherapist to have their gross motor developmental milestones assessed. Whether strength, coordination, balance or general slower development is your concern, a PT can help form an individualized play based exercise plan to help your child progress with their development,