Child Motor Skills – Importance And Improvement

What are the types of child motor skills and why are they important for development of our children?

Stimulation of early development is important for overall psychosocial child development.

Encouragement should start during so called sensitive period. Before the age of three, because after this period potential for development certain functions is drastically lower.

Programme of stimulation is conducted through aimed activities, simple and above all through games. This influences new functional knowledges and skills.

Parents should interested and active in their child development. They should encourage verbal and non verbal communication of child.

They should use short and clear sentences for naming action, expressing feelings and similar.

You do not need to know answers to all questions. Have patience when you are working with your child and seek appropriate moments for stimulation.

Do not time restrict working with your child. Above all work for how long child is in the mood.

Motor skills are important for your child. It is their capability of movement and action.

There are two types of motors skills. I will cover both of them in this article. I tried to find as much information on this topic as I could.

My two year old is very active child. There is always something to do with him. But I started wondering if it is enough for his development.

This is why I had to explore types of motor skills. To better understand what my child needs.

Motor Skills Definition

Motor skill is ability of a child to do what it has already decided to do with maximum certainty.

This ability is a permanently changing as a skill. This is result of failing and trying again. This is how child is learning through experience.

When a child does something it is executing motor skills its body has already learned or it is learning to do.

Motor skills have a job to make that movement easier every time it is done.

Every time a body is doing something it is reducing energy needed to do it again without reducing performance.

Practising motor skills will vastly improve performance. However, not all movements are motor skills.

You can say that child motor skills is something that is helping your child grow physically and mentally.

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Types Of Motor Skills

Motor skills development is of utmost importance. This is basis for developing intellectual and emotional capabilities of your child.

It is important to pay attention to stimulation your child gets during every day activities. Above all every move affects development of motor skills.

During the first three years of your kids life it is important to pay attention to motor skills development.

However, there are only two types of motor skills you should know about. Fine motor skills and gross motor skills.

Child Gross Motor Skills

Gross motor skills is movement of whole body which starts with crawling, walking and jumping.

Gross motor skills is the basis which is needed for development of fine motor skills. It is conditioned by development of brain and muscles.

Child which has great gross motor skills will have no troubles of learning how to write or tie its shoe laces.

Kids develop gross motor skills alone in their every day activities. However, it is important to stimulate development of motor skills through movement games.

Recommendation of WHO is that children should spend at least 1 hour doing some of the physical activities.

child motor skills

Games and exercises for stimulation should be picked in a way to included both sides of the body. In addition upper and lower extremities should be included also.

Kid will develop its dominant side, however, it is crucial to develop that weaker, non dominant side also.

Under gross motor skills we acknowledge larger movements. Movements of larger muscle groups which child does by its hands, legs feet or whole body.

This is why it is important for a child to crawl, run, jump, climb, spin in circles. These are the gross motor skills.

Child Fine Motor Skills

Fine motor skills are responsible for fine and precise movements. It is in direct correlation with hand to eye coordination.

It is capability that hand and fingers do assignment which child controls by its eye.

When a child is taking objects between their fingers, when they try to take some small objects and hold a pen and write tomorrow, this is when they use fine motor skills.

Fine and gross motor skills are conditioned by one another. In addition they are developed in the same time. Many activities that child does are done by their simultaneous usage.

Very beginnings of development of fine motor skills are tied to first months of development of hand-eye coordination.

When a child is capable of grabbing a certain object beyond their reach by using its eyes which lead to that object.

Development starts with head, so that baby first starts to control mouth, face, tongue. In addition there is holding of head, shoulders, arms and hand.

Fine motor skills are developed by growth, starting with first clumsy attempts. This lasts until child masters that skill.

We see this in one simple example.

Child first uses its fingers to put food to its mouth. However, when a child starts using spoon to eat we know that it has mastered that fine motor skill.

Above all we can expect kids to do certain things appropriate to their age.

With 18-24 months we can expect that it will take off its shoes. While at the age of 7 we can expect that it can tie its shoe laces alone.

In fine motor skills we recognize control of small muscles of hand, feet, fingers and lip and tongue muscles.

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Motor Skills For Babies

Here I will give you in what steps child develops motor skills in it first 12 months.

However, take care. Babies develop in different ways and different speeds.

If you are not sure if your baby is developing the right way you should talk to your pediatrician.

One To Three Months Old

With a just born baby reflexes, or instinctive reactions, are very strong.

If you give your baby a finger it will try to squeeze it as hard as possible. When you go over its foot, leg will bend as it is trying to catch something.

Around first month baby starts to lift its head when it is laying on its belly. At first this is very short and hard. However, in time it will be much easier for baby to keep its head higher.

In addition to this, baby is starting to put its hand in mouth to lick it.

At two months old legs are not bent all the time. If it is on its back it will start to kick with its legs. When on its belly it can lift its head for up to 45 degrees.

By the time it is three months old it will rely on its forearms when it is lifting its head. It can turn from side to back.

That reflex or instinct reaction when it grabs your finger is easier. Baby is more aware that it is grabbing something.

child motor skills

Four To Six Months Old

When your baby is sitting you still have to hold its back. It can turn its head freely to both sides.

In this period child formed a routine to rely on it hands. In addition it can kick pretty good now. It can see objects further and try to grab them with their little hands.

When it gets to five months your baby should be like a fish out of the water. It is trying to swim on dry.

It is starting to put its toys in mouth and can switch them in its hands.

At six months old your baby can roll to both sides. It is delighted when it is playing with its feet. When you put it to sit it will use its hands to balance and stay sitting.

Seven To Nine Months Old

Your baby can sit by itself by now. It can turn from its back to belly easily. When you put it on its back it will try to eat fingers from its feet.

Your baby likes to nibble on biscuits or bread by the time it is eight months old. This is very good considering its teeth growing.

Here comes the fun part. Your baby is starting to crawl.

By the time it gets to nine month it can routinely crawl through your whole apartment.

It has created enough muscle memory to keep things between thumb and index finger. If you hold its hands it can stand for up to one minute.

Ten To Twelve Months Old

If it can rely on something your baby will go from sitting position to standing.

When it is eleven months old it is crawling perfectly. It can lift itself up, and with your help it will make its first steps.

If your baby has good foundation it will lift one leg when it stands. This is very good when it comes to learning how to walk.

Around twelve months it can walk if you hold it by one hand. It will make its first steps on its own.

Without any difficulties it will change positions from sitting and crawling.

Bad Child Motor Skills Problems

How to prevent appearance of modern development problems with children?

We would all like for our kids to grow up fully capable for anything that is in front of them. However, as for everything in life there are obstacles you have to overcome.

Tempo of life we have today does not leave us parents enough time to devote to our kids. Therefore we see more and more kids with their faces stuck to mobile phones or tablets.

What we are not aware of is that is a great danger to our kids motor skills.

So far you, the reader, should realise importance of child motor skills development.

Smartphones and tablets become source of entertainment for our kids. They sit in one position with their eyes fixed on the screen on which there are moving pictures.

Content they view is made to keep attention, this leads to child not hearing and not answering when called. It becomes nervous if you turn off tv or take smartphone away from your child.

This altogether makes up for a serious problem, one of which is bad motor skills.

Bad Motor Skills

Kids have natural desire for movement, exploration, communication and social interaction.

Daily activities are perfect opportunity for correct stimulation of psychomotor development of a child.

Dressing, washing their face, going to the store and playing are activities which increase your kids full potential.

This especially goes for eye contact, giving them attention, using their hands and movement.

For example, games with ball are excellent for development of child motor skills.

Start with using a big ball, pass it around with your child. When it can do that with no problems switch to a smaller ball and increase distance.

Kicking the same ball also has beneficial influence on development of balance, speed, agility, coordination and visual-motor perception.

These activities, in addition, help develop attention, graphomotor and higher cognitive skills.

I would also recommend walking on rough terrain as this strengthens body musculature. This reflect on feet position of your child.

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Flat Feet

Up to the age of three kids have fat cushion on their feet, which gives impression that they are flat.

This is why it is not recommended for a child to wear orthopedic insoles or specially made shoes which have in goal to prevent deformity of feet as nature has its plan for them.

Goal of feet is to release excess heat. This is the reason why kids feet are often wet. They also transfer information to the brain about terrain.

Information is mostly about quality of terrain. Uphill, soft, wet or slippery. This is when whole body musculature is activated and feet is strengthening its structure.

It is important to say that orthopedic insoles and special shoes are passive terrain, which, in addition, does not help develop feet musculature.

There should a rule to put on shoes on a child when we put them on. When we are going outside.

Kids should experience different activities, where they will by changing movement direction or lifting weight adjusted to their anatomic characteristics help build stronger musculature.

Get body in good axis, and of course help develop feet structure.

I recommend creating some kind of obstacle course for your child made from chairs, strings, balls or bottles filled with water.

Try to go over it with your child, it could prove interesting for you also. Above all you will at least have a good time spent in fun with your child.

Speech Problems

The very production of speech comes from moving and controlling muscles of face, cheeks, lips and tongue. This means that speaking demands fine motor skills developed.

When baby is in blabla phase, it is playing with mentioned muscle groups and starts to produce sounds.

When movement control is increased, and fine motor skills are better, child will produce sounds better and more precise.

For example to say word MAMA we have to close our lips to pronounce it.

Because of this connection of fine motor skills and speech development speech therapists indicate significance of treatment which includes several activities.

Such as using puzzles, pearls, finger painting, manipulating small objects. These activities support formation of new neuronic bonds which are necessary for planning sequences of movement itself.

child motor skills

In addition, kids which are developing fine motor skills through work with different materials, textures, objects will also learn marks of those objects.

Therefore learning to name them and enrich their vocabulary.

By giving them different experiences which are backed by movement, touch, stimulating other senses and naming those experiences child will adopt those words and incorporate them into their passive(understanding) and active vocabulary(pronunciation)

This is how they learn that tea is hot, lemon is sour, ball round.

Fine child motor skills is of utmost importance for development of graphomotor skills.

Graphomotor skills is capability to hold a pencil and write.

This is one more reason to stimulate fine motor skills to prepare child better for the process of writing.

Motor Skills Activities

I have created a list of activities which can help your child improve motor skills.

Trust me, we are all tired and have something to do. However, if you skip this part and your child needs it you will never be able to do these things again.

It is for the best to do these things when a child is very young. They are our little sponges and absorb everything we do.

Do this through games and spend very good quality time with your kid.

Gross Motor Skills Activities

  • Crawling – walking on all fours. Show your child how to crawl. If it does not want to imitate you let it squat and then rely with its hands on the floor. Imitating some animal, dog for example, could be very useful.
  • Squatting. Tell your child to squat and then get up. You can do this exercise by taking your kids hand and squatting together. Name everything you do so that you child knows that it is practising.
  • Jump around. Take your kids hand and jump together(around 18 months is recommended). When a child is over two years old jump from one place to another. For example draw two circles and jump from one to another in which there is a certain object. This gives a child assignment that it has to jump to get that object.
  • Run. Similarly like previous exercise you should run from one place to another. From wall to wall, say one, two, three before starting. When you say stop you stop. Goal is that kid learns to run on command and stop when you say so.
  • Kicking the ball. Show to your kid how to kick a ball. However, if your kid doesn’t want to, do it passively. Take his leg and kick the ball with it. This should be followed by saying “kick” or “goaaal”.
  • Tricycle riding with two to three years old. When they are four years old they can start learning to ride a bike.
  • Walking on toes and heel(three years old). Walking on straight line and standing on one leg(4 years old)

Fine Motor Skills Activities

  • Catching and throwing. Say to your child “see where I threw the ball” and let your child follow it with its eyes. You can also say catch and throw from small distance ball or some other object in its arms. Then you can ask from the child to throw it back to you.
  • Building tower of cubes. Use three or four cubes to build a tower and gradually increase number of cubes.
  • Puzzles. Puzzles which have three pieces. For example teddy bear puzzle. While your are putting it together name the parts you are putting. After some time ask from a child to give you specific part of a puzzle.
  • Clay or dough play. Squeezing, tearing, making a snake or cutting with plastic knife. There are numerous things you can do with clay and it will help develop child motor skills.
  • Mixing fluids with a spoon. Put some water in a plastic glass and let your child mix it. You can do this with a ball in which you can add salt, sugar, colours.
  • Putting seeds into bottle. Get a bottle and some corn or rice. Let your child fill up a bottle with them.
  • Feeding with a spoon or fork. If you have done all things above this should be easier for a child to do by now.

Graphomotor Skills Activities

Give your child pen and paper, wooden pens or crayons and let it doodle.

Let it try to imitate what you are drawing. House, sun, everything through a song.

Draw some shapes but split it into sections.

Try to remember things you drew as a child and songs you sang when you did it.

This will greatly help your child develop graphomotoric skills.


I hope that you understand by now what motor skills are for and why it is so much important for them to be developed in the right time.

Play with your kids. Remember this. When you play with them it is always easier to learn when there are smiles.

It can be hard sometimes but know that a child can sense negativity and will not learn as good as when you are in the mood and playing with them.

Remember to praise your kid whenever it does something right.

Success is individual, some kids can do some things earlier than others. This is especially important for kids which have slowed development.

Do not force a child do to some exercise it cannot. Show patience and it will payoff.

I wish you and your child a great time doing these exercises. You can all enjoy them and they will bring you great results.

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