Top gross motor development resources to buy

As your precious child starts to grow, so to their motor skills begin to develop. When a baby is born, their muscle development starts in their head and neck. As they develop the ability to move and control these, they will then progress onto the large muscles in the body such as their core, legs, and arms. It is likely that when your child reaches the age of two, they will be able to walk and run, and their gross motor muscles will continue to improve and refine throughout their childhood. 

Within the term ‘Gross Motor Development’, 'Gross' refers to the larger muscles and their movements, with 'Motor' refers to the actions sent from the brain that require the body to use the muscles for the desired outcome. All gross motor actions require postural control, balance, strength, and muscle tone and this comes from practising, revisiting, and refining these movements through play. 




There are plenty of play opportunities that you can provide at home that will support the development of this large muscle group. These can always be taught through everyday experiences, but there are resources you can buy to keep play and learning varied and interesting for your child. Within this article, we shall explore some of the ways you can support gross motor movements at home. 

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This is arguably one of the most important periods for Gross motor development as children begin to hit large movement milestones [1]. 

Some of the movements your child is likely to make during this period include: 

  • Holds head up momentarily 
  • Thrusts arms and legs
  • Lifts head and chest whilst on stomach
  • Rolls from side to side
  • Rolls from stomach to back
  • Sits
  • Lies on their side
  • Rolls from back to stomach
  • Makes crawling movements
  • Brings hands to midline
  • Grasps and grabs objects
  • Begins to crawl
  • Pulls to standing with support 


If your child has missed or is not doing some of these things, that is normal. Every child is an individual and grows and develops in their unique way. However, if you’re concerned about their development, it is always useful to speak to your health care provider. 

Here are some play opportunities that can support your babies gross motor development in the first year: 


Visual Tracking 

The earliest gross motor control tends to start in the head and neck as babies begin to take steady control of these movements. They will practice these movements by following objects that move steadily in front of their gaze. You can do this with any household objects such as teddies, a spoon, your fingers or a muslin cloth.


Sensory Scarves


Sensory scarfs are a brilliant way to support the development of the head and neck muscles. You can lie your baby on their back and move the colourful scarves slowly in front of their face from left to right, encouraging them to track them with their gaze. Your baby will also enjoy playing peek-a-boo with these scarves and they are brilliant for pulling out of tubes or boxes when they’re a little bigger. 

You can buy them here: 


Tummy Time 

Tummy time is a great way to support the development of the core muscles. All our other large motor movements are built upon the strength of our core. Therefore, it is thought that spending more time on your tummy helps to strengthen these core muscles, as well as the head and neck muscles. You can provide your child tummy time without any other resources. Simply lay them on a soft surface on their stomach and talk to them as they explore the world from this angle. 

Not all babies enjoy tummy time and that is ok. They can develop the same muscles by spending time upright on your chest or in a baby carrier. 


Tummy Time Mirror 


To make tummy time more interesting, you could introduce a mirror to their play. When they are very young, they will be attracted to the lights and reflections and then by the movements and their reflection. 

You can buy one here:


Sitting and Reaching 

When your baby begins to sit, they will start to want to reach out and grab as they become steadier on their bottom. They may have previously been doing this on their side or front. You can encourage them to sit and reach by stacking things such as blocks, or small boxes in front of them. Any everyday object will pique their interest and they might be encouraged to reach forward for something they have not seen before such as a pan or wooden spoon. Grasping toys supports the development of hand-eye coordination which will support them throughout their motor development journey [2]. 


Stacking cups 


Stacking cups are a great resource that can also be used for this and they can be reused for filling, emptying or sorting in water, sand or anything else fun and intriguing. 

You can buy them here: 


Pulling to Standing 

As your baby’s gross motor muscles begin to get stronger, they will become more investigative and want to see what is above things. This will encourage them to pull to standing. You can easily encourage this movement at home by putting their favourite toys or unusual objects just out of their reach on a coffee table or the cushion of a sofa. They will soon try to use their arms to pull and steady themselves to reach the object. 


Baby Walker 


Baby walkers are a resource you might want to have at home to encourage your child to pull to standing initially and then begin to take their first few steps. Then once they can walk, they can use it for pushing and pulling. Which is brilliant for developing proprioception. This is a lovely one that they can enjoy as a shopping trolley or for construction for many years to come. 

You can buy one here: 



When your child turns into a toddler, they are doing just that, toddling everywhere! This is the time to babyproof your home and put away everything you love as they will be in and out of everything as their natural curiosity makes them want to see and investigate everything. 

Within this period, your child might begin to [1]: 

  • Walk independently
  • Stand without support
  • Stop, start and turn
  • Run
  • Move over and under things
  • Stand on one foot
  • Throw a ball
  • Kick a ball
  • Jumps up/down and off things
  • Can balance 


Here are some play opportunities that can support your child’s gross motor development whilst they are a toddler: 


Experiment with movements 

Your child won’t just stop when they can take their first steps independently, they will begin to investigate the way their body moves and begin to run, change directions, walk backwards and look in all different directions. You can support this skill by providing them with lots of space to move. Taking time to go to the local park is the best way to experiment with different movements. You can even set up an obstacle course at home. 


Pull along toys 


A pull along toy is a great way to encourage a child to become aware of their movements. They will look back to find that their actions have had a consequence; the thing they are dragging will have moved and they will conclude their movements have altered the movements of the toy. 

You can buy one here: 


Ride-on toy 


Ride-on toys are also great for experimenting with movements and will begin to strengthen and define the muscles in the shoulders and knees as children use these large muscles to change the direction and speed of the thing they are riding on. 

You can buy one here: 


Balance, coordination and stability  

A large part of refining gross motor movements during this stage is down to your child having the opportunity to practise and explore balance, coordination and stability. There are lots of things you can do at home that can support your child to exercise these skills. For example, jumping on the bed, walking on cushions, walking up a few steps, pulling out washing – all under your watchful supervision. 

But if you are looking for further resources to challenge this, here are some ideas. 


Wooden balance board 


Balance board are a fairly new and revolutionary resource. They are rather pricey but can be used for many years to come. Your child will start by using it to rock in and then move to explore it by standing on it, moving it, climbing over it and much more. It is open-ended and natural appeals to curiosity and is brilliant for building perseverance, resilience, proprioception (movements and position) and vestibular (balance). 

You can buy one here: 


Soft Play


If your child loves soft play, you can now buy small sets to have at home, if you have the space and means. They are great for children who just need to keep moving. They help to refine and challenge children’s gross motor movements and control as well as challenging balance, coordination and control. 

You can buy one here: 



When your child becomes confident and competent with their movement, they will tend to spend more time doing activities that work upon their fine motor skills like fine motor skills can only develop upon a well progressed gross motor system. 

Therefore, large movements are critical in this period for supporting fine motor movements, as well as developing healthy muscle mass, strength and a strong respiratory system.  

Within this period, your child might begin to [1]: 

  • Catch a ball
  • Ride a balance bike/tricycle
  • Hop
  • Balance
  • Experiment with moving – backwards/sidewards
  • Perform more intricate movements such as jumping jacks
  • Throw overhand 


Here are some play opportunities that can support your child’s gross motor development during this period: 


Experiments with movements and balance 

Your child will now be more confident with their movements and will now be looking at becoming even more investigative and challenging in their movements. You can support this at home by taking them to the local park, encouraging them to help you with difficult tasks such as climbing up short ladders (supervised), climbing trees and building difficult structures out of larger household items. 

There are also lots of things you can also buy to have at home to support this experimental stage. 


Climbing triangle 


These can be changed and altered to pique your child’s curiosity and interest. They are brilliant for experimenting with different movements and can also be made into dens and cosy reading areas with an old bedsheet. You do however need a bit of space to store them! 

You can buy one here: 


Dancing Ribbons


These are a lot cheaper and are a brilliant way to encourage your child to experiment with the movements that they make. Your child will be naturally curious about making these moves and the more twirls, jumps and running they do. The more the ribbons do in return. A great way to support gross motor movement. 

You can buy them here: 


Balance Bike


We couldn’t leave this article without talking about a balance bike. We love them so much – we have a whole other blog dedicated to them. ( If you are thinking of getting your child a trike, we would urge you to consider a balance bike instead. Your child will learn not only learn how to balance a bike, but they will also gain the confidence and control needed to have a pedal bike. Many children after time on a balance bike will take straight to a pedal bike!  

You can buy them here: 


Good for all ages!


For the last section of this article, I think it's important to pay homage to the wonderful resource that is the ball! That is simple and wonderful for all ages. 

  • Babies– Can bounce on it, roll it, bash it, watch it and even do tummy time on it. Will support the development of stability, strength and bilateral movement.
  • Toddlers– Can push it, grab it, run with it and kick it. Will support coordination, control, perseverance, resilience and balance.
  • Children– Can kick it off the ground, catch it, throw it and play games with it. Will support the development of force, target, position and precision. [3] 

Want one delivered to your door: 



[1] NHS Children's Services. (2021). Development Timelines. Available: 

[2] Joanne Lewsley, Gemma Caton. (2019). Developmental milestones: grasping. Available: 

[3] NHS Children and Young People’s Occupational Therapy Service. (2018). Gross Motor Skills. Available: