1.5–2 years old: Gross motor skill development

1.5–2 years old: Gross motor skill development

Your toddler’s gross motor development at 19–24 months old. Follow your toddler’s milestones step-by-step

Gross motor skill development allows babies to exercise their balance, coordination, and large muscles. These skills 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: 1.5–2 years old

At this age:

  • Your child can sit on small wheeled toys and move themself forward by pushing off one foot at a time.
  • They’re able to walk while carrying a large toy.
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.
  • Around 19 months of age, your toddler will be able to walk towards a ball and hit it with their hands. At around 24 months of age, they’ll be able to kick it with their foot.
  • Your toddler is able to throw a large ball over a short distance.
  • They can crouch down to play.
  • They can walk backwards or sideways while pulling a toy.
  • They can move backward to sit on a chair.

Over the next few months, your child will begin to do the following:

  • Throw a ball while running.
  • Jump up and down on both feet.
  • Jump down from a low step.
Find out how to support your child’s gross motor skill development through books. (In French)

How can you help your toddler progress?

Every child is different and develops at their own pace. That said, you can help foster your child’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 toddler’s gross motor skill development.

When you provide your toddler with children’s furniture,
they feel more comfortable doing things while sitting or leaning on a table.
When you provide your toddler with child-sized objects, such as a small soccer ball,
they feel like they have great physical abilities.
When you give them toys that allow them to push with their feet,
your toddler gets to practise their eye-foot coordination.
When you set up an obstacle course where your little one can crawl through a box, under a chair, or over a large cushion,
they get to use and refine their motor skills. They also start to develop spatial awareness.
When you describe your toddler’s movements and gestures as they climb stairs, jump over an object, or crawl under a chair,
they learn to put words to their actions and gradually learn the meaning of terms related to different spatial positions (e.g., up, down, over, under, through).
When you encourage them to dance to different kinds of music (e.g., pop, rock, jazz),
your toddler gets to use their creativity to invent their own dance moves and move their body to the beat.


Naître et grandir

Scientific review: Stéphanie Boivin and Sonya Côté, occupational therapists
Research and copywriting: The Naître et grandir team
Updated: April 2019


Photo: 123rf.com/Sergey Novikov



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

  • 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.
  • Ferland, Francine. Viens jouer dehors! Pour le plaisir et la santé. Éditions du CHU Sainte-Justine, 2012, 122 pp.
  • Canadian Paediatric Society. Caring for Kids. ”Your child’s development: What to expect.” www.caringforkids.cps.ca