Gross Motor Activities and Your 1-Year-Old – What You Need to Know

One-year-olds are pure magic! The entire world is a delight and a marvel to these young toddlers, and many leave their mark by way of sticky fingerprints everywhere. Their world is full of new experiences and is driven by play, which, as you may have already observed, is how a child learns.

At this age, the kid’s play involves gross motor development, which is the use of the larger muscles such as the arm or the whole body, compared to fine motor skills, which involve the muscles of the hands and fingers.


Top 3 Things to Know About Gross Motor Skills for 1-Year-Olds

  • What gross motor skills should a 1-year-old have?
  • What you should know before engaging in gross motor activities
  • What activities can you do with a 1-year-old?


  1. What Gross Motor Skills Should a 1-Year-Old Have?

First, when looking at developmental milestones, it is very important to remember that kids develop at a pace that is right for them. If you have any concerns about their development, please check with your pediatrician.

A 1-year-old should be able to:

  • Get themselves into a sitting position
  • Walk while holding onto someone or something, also called ‘cruising’
  • Get into a standing position and potentially stand unaided
  • Take a few steps or walk unassisted


As they grow, you may notice that they are able to do things such as stoop or crouch to pick things up. This also shows the development of their fine motor skills, as they use their pincer grasp to grip objects with their fingers.


2. What You Should Know Before Engaging in Gross Motor Activities

This will be a period of rapid growth for your baby. They may not adhere to strict timeframes, but they will constantly be learning new skills. Because it’s easy for children to fall when they stand, walk, and explore, and because they like to put objects in their mouths—supervision will be critical.


3. What Activities Can You do With a 1-Year-Old?

Allow your kiddo to spend time outside where they can run around and play. A favorite game for gross motor skill development is climbing in and out of boxes. Walk with the child up and down a hill or let them climb in and out of a wagon. When they’re outside, keep a close eye on them – they can move very quickly when they want to!

Work with them on a large floor puzzle – they can pass you the pieces, and you can do the more nuanced part of fitting them in. As the child develops, they can transition to doing the entire puzzle themselves.

When it comes to gross motor activities and a 1-year-old, it’s important to follow the child’s lead. They know what they are ready for and will do it only when it’s right for them. Trying to force a child to do something they are not ready for is not beneficial for the child. And finally, don’t forget to let them play and explore – that’s how they learn best.