Children develop their motor skills gradually from birth until they are 8 years old. As they grow they develop from one day just sleeping and drinking milk, to lifting their tiny arms, kicking off the blanket and trying to get up. Next thing you know, your baby knows how to walk, throw a ball, and write.
According to EduClime, motor skills refer to the movement of muscle with the intention of performing specific acts. Other people refer to them as dexterity because your body parts can perform an action quickly and skill-fully. For instance, it takes skill to open your hand, pick up a pencil, and write.
Categories of Motor Skills
Motor skills are categorized into:
- Gross motor skills – movements and co-ordination of larger body muscles such as the legs, arms, and trunk to walk, run, jump, and swim, and so on.
- Fine motor skills – movement of smaller muscles like fingers, toes, wrist, and feet. These skills allow the child to grab something with their fingers, write, draw, and wave.
Motor skills develop gradually from birth, but it is also important to work on these skills by trying new things and practicing. For instance, you can help your child to isolate the tripod fingers (thumb, index and middle fingers) used for writing so they can learn to hold the pencil correctly. Activities such as scissor cutting, coloring, painting, tearing paper, and modeling using play-doh are great to develop this essential fine motor skill.
You can also encourage gross motor skills by letting the child play outside, jump on a trampoline or bouncing castle, catch balloons and bubbles, and dance, as well as creating an obstacle course in the house with pillows and chairs.
Your child doesn’t just start walking one day; the gradual process begins with learning how to slowly stand up on their wobbly legs, holding on to things with their chubby hands, and then practicing how to take one step at a time until they finally manage their adorable first steps.
These simple actions, such as lifting the leg from the floor, grasping onto a table, and pushing their little bodies up, are all motor skills.