Holiday Gift Ideas to Promote Developmental
and Gross Motor Skills

By Mackenzie Clinger, PT, DPT
Kids Place West Pediatric Physical Therapy

General Developmental and Gross Motor Skills

Play Mat

Soft surface perfect for tummy time, rolling, crawling, and playing! Can later be used as a hopscotch or for building to promote coordination and motor planning skills.

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Tummy Time and Rolling

Mirror with High Contrast Vision Cards

Perfect for tummy time to promote head elevation and visual tracking. The high contrast patterns on the vision cards are easier for babies to see as their vision is still developing.

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Boppy Pillow

Another great option for tummy time! The boppy will assist in shifting your baby’s weight toward their legs making it easier for them to elevate their head and use their arms.

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Therapy ball

Again like the boppy, you can use the therapy ball to shift your baby’s weight toward their legs making it easier for them to elevate their head and use their arms. You can also gently rock them forward/backward and side to side on their tummy for vestibular input, which assists in balance, and to strengthen muscles in their neck and trunk. Once your child has sufficient head control, you may also sit your child on the ball and perform gentle weight shifts and gentle bouncing for vestibular input and to strengthen their trunk muscles.

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Pop up toys

Pop up toys like this are great to encourage weight shifting during tummy time and provide motivation to roll. This toy will grow with your child! Initially, they can work on closing the animals and you can open them. As their fine motor skills develop, the child can then start to open the animals as well, working on hand-eye coordination and various grasp positions. Once your child is standing, you can work on hip strengthening and balance by asking them to close the animals with their feet. Of course, be close by or let them hold onto something until their balance improves!

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Stacking Rings

This toy will promote weight shifting during tummy time and provide motivation to roll. Additionally, this toy will provide your little one with auditory, visual, and tactile stimuli for increased sensory input.

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Crawling

Foam steps and ramp

Once your little one as mastered crawling on their hands and steps over the ground, challenge their coordination and motor planning by first encouraging them to crawl up the steps and up the ramp. Then work on crawling down backwards for safety.

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Tunnel

Promotes creativity and imagination while working on gross motor skills. You may ask your child a crawl, bear crawl, crab walk, roll, and more inside the tunnel!

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Beads

Great motivation for working on any gross motor skills!

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Pull to Stand, Standing Endurance, and Cruising

Balance Box

Perfect height for little ones to pull to stand and cruise!

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Adjustable Sensory Bins

Will your little one pull to stand and then collapse?? Try a sensory bin for extra motivation to stand!

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Cube Chair

Two different heights on every chair to grow with your child. Practice sit-to-stand transitions to build strength in your child’s legs for independent walking and squatting to retrieve toys from the floor. Also, try placing two cube chairs close together and practice having your child walk between them as you slowly move them further and further apart to promote independent steps.

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Walking

Stepping Stones

Once your little one is a proficient walker, challenge their balance, coordination, body awareness, safety awareness, and environmental awareness with this fun activity! For an added challenge, hide them under a yoga mat.

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Balance Buckets

Start with the balance buckets touching in a straight line. Then to challenge your child’s balance try moving the buckets farther apart, staggering them, and flipping some upside-down. Practice navigating the buckets forward, backward, and sideways!

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Balance Beam

Challenge your child’s balance by narrowing their base of support. Practice navigating the balance beam forward, sideways, and backward!

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All images are from Amazon links