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Foundation: Gross Motor

California Infant/Toddler Learning & Development Foundations.
The developing ability to move the large muscles
8 months 18 months 36 months

At around eight months of age, children demonstrate the ability to maintain their posture in a sitting position and to shift between sitting and other positions.

Around 18 months of age, children move from one place to another by walking and running with basic control and coordination.

At around 36 months of age, children move with ease, coordinating movements and performing a variety of movements.

For example, the child may:

  • Sit on the floor, legs bent, with one leg closer to the body than the other. (8 mos.; Alexander, Boehme, and Cupps 1993, 134)

  • Use forearms to pull forward on the floor while on her tummy. (Scaled score of 9 for 7:16–8:15 mos.; Bayley 2006, 155)

  • Move from a sitting position onto hands and knees. (Scaled score of 10 for 7:16–8:15 mos.; Bayley 2006, 156)

For example, the child may:

  • Stand on one foot, alone or with support. (Scaled score of 10 for 18:16–19:15 mos.; Bayley 2006, 163)

  • Walk sideways. (Scaled score of 10 for 18:16–19:15 mos.; Bayley 2006, 163)

  • Push a doll stroller or play shopping cart. (17–18.5 mos.; Parks 2004)

  • Climb onto an adult-sized couch. (By 18 mos.; Apfel and Provence 2001, 33)

  • Run. (Scaled score of 10 for 16:16–17:15 mos.; Bayley 2006, 162)

For example, the child may:

  • Walk and run with skill, changing speed and direction. (36 mos.; Parks 2004; by 36 mos.; Davies 2004, 194).

  • Kick and throw a ball, but with little control of direction or speed. (36 mos.; Meisels and others 2003, 76)

  • Bend over to pick up a toy and stand up without trouble. (By 36 mos.; American Academy of Pediatrics 2004)

  • Pedal a tricycle. (32–36 mos.; Parks 2004; 36 mos.; Davies 2004, 194)

  • Climb up climbers and ladders. (34–36 mos.; Parks 2004)

  • Walk backward a few feet. (28–29.5 mos.; Parks 2004; scaled score of 10 for 34:16–35:15 mos.; Bayley 2006, #63, 167)

  • Jump up with both feet at the same time. (30–36 mos.; Parks 2004; by 30 mos.; Apfel and Provence 2001, 33)

  • Catch a medium-size ball. (35–36+ mos.; Parks 2004)

  • Walk up stairs, without holding on, placing one foot on each step. (30 mos.; Squires, Potter, and Bricker 1999; by end of 24–36 mos., 34–36+ mos.; Parks 2004, 304; scaled score of 10 for 35:16–36:15 mos.; Bayley 2006, 64)

Behaviors leading up to the foundation (4 to 7 months)

During this period, the child may:

  • Hold onto a foot while lying on her back. (Scaled score of 10 for 5:16–6:15 mos.; Bayley 2006, 153)

  • Roll from back to stomach (4–6 mos.; Lerner and Ciervo 2003)

  • Roll from stomach to back. (4–6 mos.; Lerner and Ciervo 2003; Bayley 2006, 25; 5.38–7.5 mos.; Parks 2004)

  • Bring both hands to the midline while lying on his back. (16 weeks; Squires, Potter, and Bricker 1999)

  • Sit without support and turn to the left or right to reach an object. (Scaled score of 7 for 7:16–8:15 mos.; Bayley 2006, 154; 7 mos.; Mercer 1998, 243)

  • Balance on one side, bearing weight on the lower hip, arm, and leg, leaving the upper arm and leg free to move and to manipulate objects. (7mos.; Alexander, Boehme, and Cupps 1993, 131–132).

  • Move from hands and knees into a sitting position. (7mos.; Alexander, Boehme, and Cupps 1993, 135)

  • Rock on hands and knees, sometimes losing balance. (7mos.; Alexander, Boehme, and Cupps 1993, 138)

Behaviors leading up to the foundation (9 to 17 months)

During this period, the child may:

  • Creep on hands and knees or hands and feet. (By 9 mos.; Apfel and Provence 2001, 31)

  • Pull to a stand, using furniture for support. (Scaled score of 10 for 8:16–9:15 mos.; Bayley 2006, 157)

  • Cruise while holding onto furniture. (9.61–13 mos.; Parks 2004; scaled score of 10 for 9:16–10:15 mos.; Bayley 2006, 158)

  • Sit down from a standing position. (Scaled score of 9for 10:16–11:15 mos.; Bayley 2006, 158)

  • Walk without support. (Scaled score of 9 for 12:16–13:15 mos.; Bayley 2006, 160; by 15 mos.; Apfel and Provence 2001, 33)

  • Throw a ball, underhand or overhand, to the infant care teacher. (Scaled score of 10 for 12:16–13:15 mos.; Bayley 2006, 160)

  • Squat to explore a toy on the ground and then stand up. (Scaled score of 10 for 13:16–14:15 mos.; Bayley 2006, 160)

  • Walk up or down stairs by stepping with both feet on each step while holding a parent’s hand or the handrail. (Scaled score of 10 for up for 14:16–15:15 mos.; Bayley 2006, 161; for down for 15:16–16:15 mos.; Bayley 2006, 162)

  • Get into a standing position without support. (Around 11:15 mos.; Bayley 2006, 159)

  • Crawl or creep up or down a few steps.

Behaviors leading up to the foundation (19 to 35 months)

During this period, the child may:

  • Jump off the bottom step. (24–26.5 mos.; Parks 2004; scaled score of 10 for 19:16–20:15 mos.; Bayley 2006, 164)

  • Kick a ball. (Scaled score of 10 for 20:16–21:15 mos.; Bayley 2006, 164; by 21mos.; Apfel and Provence 2001, 33)

  • Ride a ride-on toy without pedals, pushing her feet on the ground to move. (18–24 mos.; Parks 2004)

  • Walk up or down stairs by stepping with both feet on each step, without holding on. (Scaled score of 10 for up for 24:16–25:15 mos.; Bayley 2006, 165)

  • Catch a big ball using two arms. (24–26+ mos.; Parks 2004)

  • Jump forward a few inches. (Scaled score of 10 for 27:16–28:15 mos.; Bayley 2006, 166)

  • Walk on tiptoes. (Scaled score of 10 for 32:16–33:15 mos.; Bayley 2006, 167; 36mos.; Meisels and others 2003, 75)

Next Foundation: Fine Motor

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Questions:   Early Education and Support Division | itfoundations@cde.ca.gov | 916-322-6233
Last Reviewed: Wednesday, February 14, 2018
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