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Motor skills refer to the baby’s ability to make motions and movements. Motor skills are classified as Fine motor skills and gross motor skills. This article will help readers to understand the types of motor skills and how and when they develop.
What are Fine Motor Skills?
Fine motor skills are small movements made by a baby and involve relatively smaller muscles of your baby’s body. A baby, wrapping his fingers around the finger of a parent, a baby holding and picking up small objects, or a baby trying to move his lips and tongue to ingest food or taste something are also examples of fine motor skills.
What are Gross Motor Skills?
Gross motor skills are those movements made by a baby which are larger and involve the movements of the larger muscles of your baby’s body. A baby moving his arms to reach for a toy, a baby trying to sit upright, crawl or roll all require the baby to move the larger muscles of the arms, legs, shoulders and torso and are therefore classified as gross motor skills.
Fine and Gross Motor Skills Development Activities
Fine motor activities are those activities that aid and assist the development of fine motor skills in children and babies. These activities focus on improving hand-eye coordination by focusing on more precise and delicate movement involving the use of smaller muscle sets. One of the easiest activities is to give a child a handful of modelling clay. When a child starts playing with the modelling clay he will squeeze the dough or try to roll or shape it using his fingers and will develop fine motor skills.
Gross motor activities are those activities that aid and assist the development of gross motor skills in children and babies. These activities focus on improving the movements of larger muscle sets by engaging in activities that involve larger movements. Some activities that help develop gross motor skills include setting up an object as a target and encouraging the child to hit it by throwing softballs at it.
Babies and Toddlers
- Babies that are 2-4 months old develop the grasp reflex and should be given small objects in their hands, they will grasp them involuntarily.
- Between the ages of 4-8 months, babies should be encouraged to play with small objects, it will be seen that babies can now transfer objects from one hand to the other, they can easily pick up medium-sized objects and can place objects in their mouth or pull them out of containers.
- At 7-9 months of age, babies have an improved ability to reach forward and sidewards have and should be encouraged to reach for small objects by placing them at a small distance from the baby. Babies can also now place objects in containers and should be encouraged with activities that involve the same.
- By 12 months of age, babies should be encouraged with activities that involve pointing and poking. Also, activities involving picking up of crayons and other slender objects as babies are now learning to use their thumbs.
- By the time they are eighteen months babies can hold crayons and activities like drawing and colouring should be encouraged.
Preschoolers or Kindergarten
A few gross and fine motor activities for preschoolers are listed below:
- More activities involving drawing and colouring should be encouraged.
- Should be encouraged to use the spoon while eating
- Should be taught to put on and take off shoes and socks.
- Should be encouraged to indulge in activities that involve the stacking of large objects.
- Although still difficult, a child can be taught to string beads.
- Playing with modelling clay should be encouraged.
- Can be taught to cut paper using scissors.
- Games involving throwing of balls should be initiated.
- Should be taught to draw vertical and horizontal lines.
- Should be encouraged to dress and change clothes independently.
Fine vs. Gross Motor skills
- Gross motor skills involve the use of larger muscle sets for larger movements, activities, like sitting, crawling rolling are gross motor skills. Fine motor skills involve the use of small muscle sets for smaller more delicate movements, grasping, picking up small objects are examples of fine motor skills.
- Gross motor skills start developing during infancy and fine motor skills start developing at pre-schooling age.
- Both gross and fine motor skills can be developed by indulging the baby in some activity or games.
Both gross and fine motor skills are essential for a baby’s growth and development. While motor skills develop naturally it is still advisable for parents to monitor their development. Some activities including some playtime activities and games can be used to develop both fine and gross motor skills. If certain motor skills are slow to develop some activities can speed up their development.
Also Read: Physical Development In Children