The gross motor skills, which develop from birth and into adolescence, refer to the ability to use large groups of muscles together for one activity or movement. In a small child or toddler, this can refer to the simple act of sitting up or rolling over. For a kindergarten-aged child, this could mean the ability to skip or hop. For an older child, such as a 11-year-old, this means using muscle groups together to perform more complex tasks that involve balance and coordination.
Multiple Muscle Groups
Instruments involve using a variety of muscle groups in order to effectively play them. A middle school student, such as an 11-year-old child, through his development of small muscle groups, is physically able to begin playing complex instruments such as a flute, piano or guitar. A flute demands the use of his arms, hands, fingers and mouth to play the instrument, which can be defined as your gross motor skills. Likewise, his hands, arms and fingers also come into play when playing a guitar. The skill of coordination, an element of gross motor skills, is essential for playing the instruments.
Dancing invokes both the involvement of large groups of muscles as well as balance and coordination, elements of gross motor skills. Whether an 11-year-old is involved in dance training in a specific style such as ballet or tap, or simple social dancing at a middle school dance, she is using her developed gross motor skills. The child needs to be able to balance as well as shift her balance from one side to the other in addition to moving her arms and hips to create the dance movements. The gross motor skills of balance and coordination are pivotal for this activity.
An 11-year old child may be beginning to become involved in middle school sports, which require a variety of elements of motor skills. In the child's movements, whether to tackle an opponent, hit a ball or throw a pass, he is invoking muscle groups throughout his body. The 11-year-old is also expected at his stage of development to be able to balance, another pivotal aspect of successful playing. Coordination is also a key element in playing sports, as the child needs it to evade defenders, handle the ball, puck, bat or hockey stick as well as complete complex manoeuvres such as dribbling, passing and catching.
- The University of Michigan Health System: Developmental Milestones
- North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension: Childhood Years Ages Six Through 12
- How Kids Develop: What Is Child Development and What Skills Do Children Develop at Different Ages
- All Kinds of Minds: Playing Sports and Using Large Muscles