10–12 months old: Gross motor skill development

10–12 months old: Gross motor skill development

Your baby’s gross motor skill development at 10–12 months. Follow your baby’s milestones step-by-step.

Gross motor skill development allows babies to exercise their balance, coordination, and large muscles. These abilities will help your little one master certain movements, such as sitting, crawling, walking, running, climbing, and jumping. Developing gross motor skills is also an important step toward developing fine motor skills.

Gross motor skill development: 10–12 months old

At this age:

  • Your baby can turn in a circle when sitting and twist to pick up objects.
Remember that not all children develop the same skills at the same speed. The material on this website is for general information purposes only. If you’re concerned about your child’s development, speak with a doctor.
  • They change positions easily: when seated, they can get on all fours, kneel, and then stand while holding on to furniture.
  • They protect themself with their hands when they fall forward, sideways, or backwards.
  • Your baby stands with their knees bent, as if they’re trying to squat.
  • They can sit down steadily to pick up an object while holding on to furniture.
  • They can walk sideways while holding on to furniture. They can travel between pieces of furniture without falling and walk while pushing toys or large objects.
  • Your baby walks when you hold both their hands. Some babies may even start to walk without help.
  • Some children still crawl on their tummy to get around, but most prefer to move on all fours.

Over the next few weeks, your baby will begin to do the following:

  • Walk with one hand held.
  • Squat, bend over, then stand up.
  • Go up and down the stairs on all fours.
  • Stand (for a few seconds) without support.
  • Take their first steps without help.
What to watch out for
Speak with a doctor if your baby isn’t doing the following by 12 months:
  • Crawling on their tummy or on all fours.
  • Standing up while holding on to furniture.

How can you help your baby progress?

Every child is different and develops at their own pace. That said, you can help foster your baby’s development by adopting the Comfort, Play, and Teach parenting approach, which can easily be integrated into your daily routine. The table below outlines small, age-specific actions you can take that will benefit your baby’s gross motor skill development.

When you strongly encourage your baby as they try to stand up by holding on to furniture,
they feel motivated to keep trying.
When you help your baby practise walking in the park or around your yard,
they begin to take more confident steps and feel safe trying new movements.
When you roll a ball back and forth with your baby,
they develop hand-eye coordination and learn larger movements, such as pushing, pulling, and throwing.
When you sit your baby on the floor, place their favourite toys just out of reach, and praise them when they manage to grab them,
they learn how to move in different directions while sitting to reach objects of interest.
When you encourage your baby to crawl up the stairs by placing their toys on the top steps, positioning their foot on the bottom step so they can push themself up,
your baby gets to learn while feeling safe, because they know that you’ll catch them if they fall.
When your baby stands up while holding on to furniture and you encourage them to steady themself with one hand, then to stand unsupported (while staying close),
your baby is reassured by your presence and emotional support. They begin to stand unsupported with more confidence and learn that they can get up if they fall.


Naître et grandir

Scientific review: Sonya Côté, occupational therapist
Research and copywriting: The Naître et grandir team
Updated: March 2019


Photo: GettyImages/DusanManic



Please note that hyperlinks to other websites are not updated regularly, and some may have changed since publication. It is therefore possible that a link may not be found. If a link is no longer valid, use search engines to find the relevant information.

  • American Academy of Pediatrics. “Movement: Babies 8 to 12 Months.” www.healthychildren.org
  • Centre of Excellence for Early Childhood Development. Physical Activity in Early Childhood: Setting the Stage for Lifelong Healthy Habits. April 2011. www.child-encyclopedia.com
  • Ferland, Francine. Le développement de l’enfant au quotidien : de 0 à 6 ans. 2nd ed., Éditions du CHU Sainte-Justine, 2018, 264 pp.
  • Canadian Paediatric Society. Caring for Kids. “Your child’s development: What to expect.” www.caringforkids.cps.ca