If you could choose to invest in one type of toy that would have the longest lasting impact on your child’s development and give you the most rest as a parent- it would be gross motor toys or equipment that invites movement.
The little years are the perfect time for getting these bigger type of toys that will be used for years to come because young children are often less aware of seasons of giving and therefore don’t already have a long list of the miniature (soon to be lost) toys that they want to receive.
I have divided the following lists into age categories but feel free to pick and choose according to what you already have or how different gross motor toys will work in your home.
Gross motor toys for one year olds
One year old toddlers are just learning how to master walking however this is still a great time to start thinking about gross motor play. In the space of this year children move for first steps to running, climbing stairs, climbing small ladders, chasing balls, and even begin jumping.
You may find that gross motor play doesn’t look like your one year old sweetly climbing up and down their pikler triangle but rather climbing on and off the first rung of the ladder 1000 times in the space of 2 minutes. It is all good! That time of exploring gross motor equipment is priceless for your 1 year olds development.
OTHolly is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program. As an Amazon Associate I earn a few pennies when you purchase from my links. You can find more in my disclosure policy.
10 of the best gross motor toys for 1 year olds
- Kids convertable sofa (like the nugget or this one)
- Swings like sitting swing and hammock
- A big ball, peanut ball or small plastic balls
- soft blocks
- bean bag or crash pad
- Full length mirror
- Push bike
- Push wagon
Toys for 2 year old gross motor skills
Two year old’s are pretty well known for their movement. At least for the fact that they never seem to not be moving. They are making huge developmental strides not just in their physical abilities but also in building communication between their brain and body.
A 2 year old toddler will need to spend a good portion of their day outdoors and experiencing unstructured play but we only do well by them by having indoor options for movement play as well. The following recommendations are indoor structures that are easy to pack up and won’t completely override your home.
However, if you have the outdoor space a jungle gym set like this one is a great investment at the age.
8 of the best gross motor toys for 2 year olds
- Swings like monkey bars or this ninja course
- Climber like this or a pikler
- Wobble or other balance boards
- Hopping balls or animals,
- Push bike or balance bike and helmet,
- Scooter and helmet,
- giant music mats,
Gross motor toys for 3 year olds
By 3 years olds toddlers are moving towards more organized movement. they don’t just run, they chase a friend, they don’t just throw a ball but aim it and wait to catch it. Their gross motor play opens up fantastic learning opportunities for social and sensory development.
It is also a time when they are eager to challenge themselves physically. Providing opportunities for more risky movement, or movement that requires more coordination is a wonderful way to meet their developmental gross motor needs.
8 of the bes toys for 3 year old gross motor skills
- Skateboard swing
- Climbing wall
- Balance beam
- Bat and ball set or a swingball
- Velcro ball mitts
- Balance bike or peddle bike and helmet
- Ring toss
Storage, minimalism and gross motor toys
There is no way around it- gross motor toys take up space. Whether it is balls, a bike or a full on in-home mini gym set- they take up space.
Some of the easiest ways that I have found to store these is to have hooks on the walls or behind a door with big mesh bags. Balls, tunnels, stepping stones etc. can simple be places onto those bags.
Another suggestion is to think of where something can live before purchasing. With that you will also want to consider how the aesthetic of the gross motor toy matches this space so as not to decrease the play in the space by having clutter.
Looking for more toy ideas for 1-3 year olds? Check out the ultimate gift guide