Motor skills are the motions that are carried out when the brain, nervous system, and muscles work together. Motor Skills can be either Fine or Gross.
Fine Motor Skills are the small muscle movements that occur in the fingers, lips, toes, tongue, and wrists. Most of these muscles require coordination with the eyes.
These skills are critical so that children can learn to write and draw. Children with developed Fine Motor Skills are more likely to succeed in writing, copying, cutting, pasting, and identifying numbers and letters.
Upright working surfaces will help develop Fine Motor Skills. Encourage children to draw or paint on vertical easels and chalkboards, magnet boards such as refrigerators, windows, mirrors, etc..
Examples of Fine Motor Skills at various ages:
A baby uses her thumb and forefinger to pick up a raisin.
A toddler holds a crayon in his hand and scribbles on a piece of paper.
A preschooler uses a butter knife to smear peanut butter on a celery stick.
A high school student stands at a blackboard and uses chalk to copy one of his homework problems onto the board.
Gross Motor Skills are the bigger muscle movements that occur in the arms, feet, legs, and torso. These are the movements often associated with physical play, such as running, jumping, and climbing.
The mastery of Gross Motor Skills allows children to control their movements. These skills build upon each other. Children learn to roll before they crawl, walk before they run, etc..
Examples of Gross Motor Skills at various ages:
A baby slowly climbs upstairs, while his mother hovers behind him, ready to catch him if he falls.
A toddler awkwardly jumps over a crack in the sidewalk.
A preschooler confidently skips around her backyard.
A kindergartner rides his bike for the first time without training wheels.
A high school student hits a softball with her bat, sending the ball flying over the outfield.