A list of large motor activities for infants that are simple to implement today! Support your baby in their gross motor development.
If you’re looking for large motor activities for infants, you’re in the right place!
WHO recommends engaging in these types of activities for a few hours a day, so I thought I’d take a moment to talk about it.
Babies go through so much growth in the first year between sitting up, crawling, walking, and more. There are so many fun large motor activities for infants that can help foster those skills.
As a mama with a delayed little one, I understand how important these skills are. But – they don’t have to be complicated. Each of these on this list are simple activities and you don’t need anything too extra to achieve them.
Before we get into the list though, let’s discuss what large motor skills are.
What are Large Motor Skills?
Large motor skills are commonly referred to as gross motor skills. They’re a super important part of development that involves developing the large muscle groups. This sets the foundation for more movement as they get older.
Both the American Academy of Pediatrics and WHO really emphasize the importance of physical development. Babies should get a few hours daily of interaction to help foster these skills.
I say these from experience too as we have a baby with a significant delay in his development that could have been avoided if we paid more attention to it. Helping them with gross motor abilities are so important.
If you’re not sure what large muscle groups are or need some more concrete examples, here’s a list of what I’m referring to here.
Examples of Gross Motor Skills:
- Rolling over
- Holding their head up
- Sitting up
- Taking first steps
Let me encourage you not to overthink this though. It’s so easy to do as a new mama! Everyday interactions are more than plenty as baby follows their own pace. But if you want some fun activity ideas to help support gross motor control, I’ve got you covered.
Activities for Newborns to 3 Months
This stage is so much fun! Babies enter the world and start hitting their very first milestones such as head control, exploring their surroundings, and responding to the stimuli around them.
There are a few key activities you can do to help support those gross motor skills in the early months.
Starting tummy time early can help with the development of head control. You can lay them on a soft play mat or simply set them on your chest.
While they won’t be doing much this early in life, you can try setting simple toys within reach. Ones that are black and white help as well as those with lots of color and texture.
Tummy time as a newborn helps them with neck control and upper body strength.
Sensory bags are such a fun way to introduce lots of textures. While you can’t do this super early, it’s fun to do as they reach the end of the fourth trimester.
Try filling sealable pouches with things like rice, foam, gel, or other types of materials. Baby can then touch and explore as they develop some of their smaller muscles.
Sensory bags help with developing hand movements.
Babies love to swing and it’s so good for them too! Install a secure swing to not just calm baby when they’re upset, but introduce a sense of balance and body awareness.
Just be sure to stay closeby so you can make sure your little one is safe!
I’m not sure there is anything cuter than a baby seeing their reflection. Doing this early can help them develop visual tracking. Be mindful that babies don’t see very far at first and place a mirror in their line of sight.
This helps with social development too as they connect with their reflection. It also aids in fostering self-awareness.
Play with Soft Rattles
Soft rattles can be so fun during this age range to start to encourage grasping and hand-eye coordination. Choose ones that will get your baby’s attention and encourage them to reach for them.
While it sounds simple, this activity helps with sensory development, reaching, and fine motor skills.
These gross motor activities for infants sound simple but they are helping with so many gross motor skills behind the scenes! It also establishes curiosity to interact with their environment.
Activities for 4 to 6 Months
The 4-6 month old stage was always one of my favorites. Their mobility starts to increase and near the end of this, they may even start to sit up and crawl!
The activities below will depend on the skills your baby has developed already, but they’re fun.
Practice Rolling Over
Help your baby practice rolling over by placing them on a blanket and guiding them to roll. You can do this with a toy or by grabbing their hand and guiding them through the position. You can also try setting a toy just out of reach to motivate the movements.
This activity helps with rolling and really targets those large muscle groups.
If your baby is starting to work on crawling, this can be such a fun activity. Set them up with a playmat tunnel and set them at the end. Encourage them to crawl through to work on their core muscles.
They’ll be working on working on the development of these muscles as well as spatial awareness.
Explore with Sensory Balls
Sensory balls are so much fun!! These little balls come in all kinds of shapes, sizes, colors, and textures for babies to explore.
These balls help with developing tactile senses and improving hand strength.
Engage in Water Play
Water play is another one I really enjoy with little babies! Fill a very small container with water for them to splash. Just make sure you stay closeby for this one. The resistance of the water is really good for them to explore.
This encourages arm movements, helping to strengthen those gross motor skills in their arms.
Play with Soft Books
Grab some soft fabric books for your baby to play with. Encourage them to reach and grasp as they explore the different textures and colors.
While this activity most obviously targets fine motor movements in their fingers, it also helps the large muscle groups in their arms as they explore the book.
Climb a Pillow Mountain
For babies learning to crawl, setting up a pillow mountain can be a lot of fun. Simply stack some pillows on top of each other.
This activity helps with exercising large muscle groups as they climb and explore.
Each of these large motor activities for infants are so much fun for this age group. You’ll see lots of development happen at this stage and these activities are super easy to implement in your day.
Activities for 7 to 9 Months
The 7-9 month age group comes with a lot of skills being learned. They’re going to keep refining those gross motor skills, become more mobile, and really start interacting with the world around them more. They’ll be sitting up, pulling themselves up on furniture, and getting into things a lot more.
There are some activities that can help them really strengthen some of these skills!
Paint in the High Chair
You’d think baby is still too little for paint, but that’s not the case. They can try out tempera paint since it’s made in a variety of ways that are all non-toxic. If that makes you nervous though, you can try making your own or just letting them play in yogurt.
Tape a large sheet of paper to their try and let them explore! This helps with hand-eye coordination and they’re practicing lots of motor skills. They’re strengthening neck and back muscles, arms, and more as they do this.
Create a Baby Obstacle Course
This sounds a lot more complicated than it is LOL. Just start throwing around pillows, cushions, soft toys, etc to create an obstacle course.
This type of activity promotes crawling and spatial awareness. They’ll crawl around as they strengthen large muscles, develop coordination, and work on balance.
Invite Baby to Explore Textures
This can be a simple and fun one to do with babies. Gather baby-safe items in various textures to place down. Think soft fabrics, smooth surfaces, and crinkly materials.
Not only are they exploring texture, but they have to crawl and move around to do so. You’re working on gross motor movements and sensory development at the same time.
Blow Bubbles with Baby
If there’s a warm day, take baby outside to blow some soap bubbles! They’ll be so amazed with this one. Just make sure to use a baby-friendly bubble solution.
They’ll be working on visual tracking, hand-eye coordination, and just having fun.
Play with Blocks
Playing with blocks are pretty much a must-do as a baby, aren’t they? I highly encourage using soft blocks for this one though!
Baby can stack, knock them known, even squeeze if they allow. This helps with fine motor and hand coordination.
Play with Sock Puppets
Is there anything cuter than a baby with sock puppets?! Create cute characters for your baby to interact with.
They’ll be reaching to grab them, possibly even talking to the puppet. It’s so much fun and it can stimulate some of the gross motor skills and language development.
Each of these large motor activities for infants really help with strengthening their new skills in really fun ways!
Activities for 10 to 12 Months
As you near the end of the first year, lots of skills have been developed. They may have even started walking at this point! There are so many fun activities to do now. They can strengthen those skills while they work on coordination, balance, and more.
Let’s take a look at some more fun large motor activities for infants.
Is there anyone who can refuse a good dance party?! Turn on your favorite music and try out your best moves LOL. You can hold their hands while you dance or just let them do their thing if they will.
This activity is a GREAT way to practice balance and coordination. They’re working those large muscles in baby’s legs and even learning rhythm.
Play with Push Toys
If those walking skills are still in the works, this is a great one to encourage. Find a push toy for your baby to practice with.
It’s simple, but it’s great for confidence building and working on the large muscles.
Play with a Balloon
My older kids love to call this “keepy uppy” and it accurately describes the game. Bop the balloon back up into the air.
This activity helps with hand-eye coordination, gross motor skill development, and cognitive development. It’s such a fun game to play!
Explore Kitchen Utensils
Kitchen band, anyone? Grab some utensils from the kitchen drawer and allow your baby to tap on them.
This activity promotes hand-eye coordination, creative exploration, and more. It’s a fun but loud one!
Your baby will love these large motor activities for infants. They will further strengthen skills they already have while working on new ones. Not to mention how much fun these all are!
These large motor activities for infants are not just super fun, but they’re important for a baby’s development. There are plenty of activities in your everyday that can help. This gives a great starting point for simple games, but there are so many more you can do to help with gross motor development.
Which large motor activities for infants are you going to try?