Motor skills are movements and actions that require a child to use his muscles. The development of motor skills is an important and significant part of a child’s development and it should be encouraged in the early years for the child's growth and independency. Having good motor skills allows children to explore the world around them and helps them in their cognitive development. In this post, we share about the different types of motor skills and how you can help develop your child's motor skills.
Motor skills, both gross and fine, encourage independency. Development of motor skills allow a child to explore independently, eg Walking, Eating and Self Care skills like brushing their own teeth and wearing their own clothes.
GROSS MOTOR SKILLS
Gross Motor skills are movements that require larger muscles groups of the body, like arms, legs, core and torso. They are required for everyday activities like standing, walking, running and even sitting upright. Gross motor skills also include hand eye coordination skills like riding a bicycle/ scooter, swimming and ball skills like throwing, catching or kicking a ball. Activities that develop gross motor skills work on body awareness, reaction speed, balance and strength.
Gross motor skills can be grouped into 3 different types:
1. Locomotor skills : These are actions that move the body around or from place to place like walking, running, hopping, jumping, skipping etc.
2. Manipulative skills : These are actions that involve moving an object to achieve a goal or completing a task (eg kicking, rolling, throwing a ball)
3. Stability skills : Actions that require balance and weight transfer (eg standing on one foot)
The best way to develop your child's gross motor skills is to offer plenty of opportunities and time for active play. Give them lots of time, space and opportunities to run around, explore and exercise their muscles! For example, incorporating frequent walks in the park or trips to the zoo, playground and beach allows a child to practice walking and running (gross motor skills). Choosing to take the stairs provides them with the opportunity to build up and develop their major lower body muscles (glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps and calves). You can also encourage indoor movement activities like kids yoga, hide and seek or create your own obstacle courses and create games that require movement and balance (We share some ideas in the photos above!).
FINE MOTOR SKILLS
Fine Motor Skills involves using small muscles in the fingers, hands and forearms. Activities that develop fine motor skills work on improving muscle coordination in wrists, fingers and hands, pincer gripe, hand eye coordination and precision. These include pencil skills (doodle, colour, draw, write), scissor skills (cutting), construction skills (pasting, fixing, stacking), scooping, spooning, transferring and self care skills (zips, shoelaces, buckles, belts).
IMPORTANCE OF MOTOR SKILLS IN CHILD DEVELOPMENT
Fine motor skills are required to perform everyday tasks like dressing, eating, putting on shoes etc. Good development of motor skills help children become more independent and confident in everyday tasks. Do you know that fine motor skills are also essential for good and legible handwriting? Yes! Development of fine motor skills comes with hand eye coordination and cognitive abilities required for reading and writing, areas which are critical to a child’s learning in school. A child who do not have good fine motor skills may be easily frustrated when faced with fine motor tasks in school and this can lead to poor self-esteem, anxiety and stress.
The early years (first 8 years) are the best time to develop a child's motor skills which in turn lead to better cognitive development and practice definitely makes progress! For more ideas on how to develop your child's motor skills, check out our PLAY & LEARN section HERE !