Gross Motor Checklist

Below is a simplified list of age-appropriate gross motor skills.

The checklist may be used by parents to identify whether their child is relatively slow in acquiring certain gross motor skills. Although the milestones below are listed according to the average month of life they typically occur in, please note that a range of individual variability does exist. Furthermore, each motor skill is assessed via specific criteria, as well as by quality of movement. Thus, in order to accurately determine whether your child may have a developmental delay, a complete and comprehensive gross motor evaluation must be done by a pediatric physical therapist who is specifically skilled in performing formal standardized motor testing for infants.

1st Month

  • Lifts head briefly while on tummy
  • Turns head side to side when lying on back
  • Hands stay clenched
  • Strong grasp reflex
  • Looks and follows objects moving in front of them in range of 45 degrees
  • Sees black and white patterns
  • Focuses 8-12 inches away

2nd Month

  • Lifts head almost 45 degrees when on tummy
  • Grasp reflex decreases
  • Follows dangling objects with eyes
  • Visually searches for sounds

3rd Month

  • On tummy, can raise head and shoulders between 45-90 degrees
  • Bears weight on forearms
  • Grasp reflex absent
  • Holds objects but does not reach for them
  • Clutches own hands and pulls on blankets and clothes
  • Follows objects 180 degrees

4th Month

  • Good head control
  • Raises head and chest off surface to a 90 degree angle
  • Rolls from back to side
  • Explores and plays with hands
  • Tries to reach for objects but overshoots
  • Grasps objects with both hands
  • Eye-hand coordination begins

5th Month

  • Rolls from stomach to back
  • When lying on back puts feet to mouth
  • Voluntarily grasps and holds objects
  • Plays with toes
  • Takes objects directly to mouth
  • Can see across the room

6th Month

  • On tummy, can lift chest and part of stomach off the surface, bearing weight on hands
  • Rolls in and out of tummy
  • Grasps and controls small objects
  • Grabs feet and pulls to mouth

7th Month

  • Sits without support, may lean forward on both hands
  • Bears full weight on feet when held in standing
  • Bears weight on one hand when in tummy and reaches with other hand
  • Transfers objects from one hand to another
  • May crawl backwards

8th Months

  • Sits well without support
  • Bears weight on legs and may stand holding on to furniture
  • Adjusts posture to reach an object
  • Picks up objects using index, fourth, and fifth finger against thumb
  • Able to release objects
  • Reaches for toys that are out of reach
  • Gets on arms and knees in crawling position

9th Month

  • May begin crawling forward
  • Pulls up to standing from sitting
  • Sits for a prolonged time
  • Uses thumb and index finger to pick up objects
  • Pivots in sitting
  • Standing at furniture

10th-11th Months

  • Recovers balance easily while sitting
  • Stands without support briefly
  • Picks up object from floor from standing position
  • Creeps on hands and feet (bear walk)

12 to 15 months

  • Walks without support
  • Fast walking
  • Walks backward
  • Walks sideways
  • Throws a ball in sitting


Our son started therapy with Sophie as a newborn. We were so nervous about treating his torticollis and doing the right thing for our son! Sophie was amazing- she was so gentle with him and if any exercise didn’t seem comfortable for him (or us) she helped us find another way to make sure he was getting the stretching and therapy he needed without discomfort. We looked forward to our sessions with Sophie and our son benefited tremendously. We had excellent results. We do not hesitate to highly recommend Dr. Sophie and Early Start Pediatric PT!

Jenna Sans-Agero, Chris Sans-Agero
Paramedic and Firefighter of Los Angeles Fire Department

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