Motor Skills And Child Development

Some helpful hints for parents to aid in the motor skills department of their child's development. Easy games and activities.

There are a lot of activities that you can do with your child to help enhance their fine and gross motor skills. Many people don't realize how these skills affect a child. The development of fine and gross motor skills allows them to perform better in other, more academic and physical ways.

FINE MOTOR SKILLS

Fine motor skills are those skills that allow you to develop the ability to do such things as write and manipulate small objects. Try these simple activities to help your children along the way.

- Painting. Try to alternate between large, stubby brushes and smaller, finer brushes. The smaller the brush is, the more control they need over their hands. Also try getting them to do some painting with cotton swabs. This affords some really fine work and allows them to develop their pincer grip; needed for learning how to write

- Puzzles. For younger children; start them off with large peg puzzles. These are puzzles that have the little knob sticking out of each puzzle piece. This allows them to garner more control over their finger movement. For starter puzzles you can buy them with very large knobs that require a full fisted grip then you can move onto the puzzles that require a thumb and forefinger grip (pincer grip).

- Playdough. Children will get some great fine motor skill exercise out of Playdough especially if you add some extra equipment such as rollers and cookie cutters.

- Cutting. Bring out the scissors and some old magazines and let them get to work. Cutting requires a lot of coordination. For younger children who are just getting used to manipulating scissors, you can buy them without any metal. They are sharp enough to cut through paper but not much else.



- Threading. Buy some beads to thread or use some colored pasta and string. This activity requires a lot of control and a steady hand. Perfect practice for fine motor development.

- Blocks. Start out with larger blocks and move your way towards the smaller variety. The smaller the blocks, the more control they need to develop. But be careful not to introduce blocks that are small too quickly - they will only get frustrated and give up.

GROSS MOTOR SKILLS

Gross motor skills are big motor skills; i.e. running, jumping and hopping etc. They require balance and coordination. Try some of these activities.

- Running. Create a game that requires moving quickly. This is great for encouraging the development of gross motor coordination.

- Climbing. Take them to the park and let them climb all over the jungle gyms. Climbing is an innate characteristic of children. You may have noticed it when they started climbing the coffee table as a toddler! Each time they try, they will get a little better because they are developing those important gross motor muscles.

- Hopping. Try a game of hopscotch. All that hopping about is developing some balance.

- Ball play. Kicking, rolling and throwing are some great ways to encourage gross motor development and you don't need anything more that a ball and a little bit of room. Smaller balls require a little finer control but you should aim to get a ball that is easily picked up. A very large ball for a younger child can be difficult to manipulate and get very frustrating.

- Batting. Get out the baseball bat and polish up your batting skills. This is a hard one for kids to master but well worth the reward. Try a bigger, thicker bat to start with and work your way up to a smaller one. You can also try tennis, golf or racquetball.

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