How to develop fine and gross motor movement

Dear Tunesters,

Today let’s talk about the best ways to get your baby moving and to develop their fine and gross motor movement.

My second kid was a physical child from day 1. From the minute he could roll over, he was on a mission to MOVE. My first wasn’t that way at all. He was quite content to sit in one spot and pull the Playmobil captain in and out of the boat. While my second was focused on developing his gross motor movement, my first was all about his fine motor movement. 

But guess what – they need both! And you know what the best way to get your baby moving both with their fingers and their body is? Can you guess what my answer will be?

Yup –  through songs. 

It’s a no brainer really. Think about yourself when you’re doing exercise or when you’re dancing. You’re probably a million times more motivated to move when Stevie Wonder is playing his harmonica.

This morning I was so UNmotivated to do my workout until I heard my latest favorite song. And then I was rearing to go.

Before we go into WHICH movement songs to do with your baby, let’s talk WHY.


Benefits of movement songs with your baby:

  1. Fine AND gross motor skills.
    You might just be favoring one depending on the gender of your baby.
    This study found that parents of male babies often encourage play that promotes more gross motor movement like walking, running and jumping and parents of female babies encourage fine motor movements like grasping and reaching. We want to do both!
  2. Increase cooperation.
    Moving together, to the rhythm of the song, teaches your baby that there is a sequence and that you both do it together. Meaning, your baby learns that there are social rules to the game. And that’s an important lesson!
  3. Hand eye coordination.
    Every time you do the Itsy Bitsy Spider or Flying Hands with your baby they’re learning how to control their movements
  4. Listening skills.
    You might not have considered this benefit but when you do movement and gesture songs with your baby you’re teaching them to listen closely and follow instructions. I know you want your baby to learn that 🙂

Ok so now let’s get some ideas for which songs to do and how:

Movement activities to do with your baby TODAY:

  1. Go on a Bikeride!
    This song and others like it such as Head Shoulders Knees and Toes or Rocking in the Boat encourage moving and stretching your baby which develop awareness of their body and increases their flexibility.
  2. Focus on Tummy Time!
    Tummy time has been shown to be so important for your baby’s gross motor movement and acquisition of sitting, standing and walking. To encourage your baby to stay longer in tummy time by making the floor more interesting, Try this song.
  3. Take an Airplane ride!
    If you’ve learned one thing from my posts it’s how much our babies mirror us. When your baby sees you being active physically, they will be too! Engage in songs in which you both move together, like Open Shut Them It or this Airplane song.
  4. Jump around!
    To encourage gross motor movement sing songs that involve big motions like jumping, running, and clapping. Another example is If You’re Happy and You Know it.
  5. Excercise those fingers! 
    Do songs that involve finger and hand control such as Flying Hands, Itsy Bitsy Spider and New Words.


Other ideas to encourage movement that don’t involve songs:

  1. Create an Indoor Obstacle Course.
    Put down an enticing spread of pillows and blankets for your baby to crawl in and out of. When they get older you can do obstacle courses in the field by saying something like – run to that pole, spin around it, then jump over that stick, clap three times…
  2. Outside Play.
    Going outside has been
    shown to increase your baby’s movements because they have more space. So get out there! To the park, to the playground, or just outside the door.


What movement songs do you do with your baby? Comment below and let me know!


Do you have a friend who’d like to help her baby start moving and grooving? Send them this post and tell them to sign up for more below.