By: M. Afif Fadli
Early childhood is the golden age. It is the most essential time to stimulate children’s motor abilities. Stimulations at this very age help accelerate the development of motor capabilities enabling children to stand, sit and play actively. Well-developed motor skills increase the chance of children becoming more dynamic and healthier individuals.
Motor skills are those related to moving and coordinating the muscles of the body, such as moving the head, limbs, fingers, etc. They allow us all to do everything from walking, running, jumping to brushing our teeth. The movements of body parts are subtle in newborns and they need a lot of playtime and practice to develop their motor skills as they grow.
What are the 2 types of motor skills?
Motor skills are divided into gross and motor skills. Gross motor skills include locomotor, object control, and balance skills while fine motor skills comprise the ability in movements requiring coordination between different organs, e.g., hand-eye, feet-eye, and eye-hand-feet coordination—among others.
Fine motor skills
Fine motor skills are those manipulative skills that involve small movements and small muscles in acts such as picking up, feeding oneself, treading, writing, drawing, cutting, etc. Motor dysgraphia is the term that refers to a lack of fine-motor coordination and visual perception. Developing this prevents children from producing written text.
Gross motor skills
Gross motor skills are abilities that let us do tasks that involve large muscles in our torso, legs, and arms. These require whole-body movement involving the large muscles of the body to perform everyday functions. They also include eye-hand coordination skills such as throwing, catching, kicking, riding a bike, swimming, and so on. Children with gross motor skill difficulties commonly find navigating the environment, maintaining body posture, and attending instructions challenging, leading to injuries when attempting tasks. Having poor gross motor skills can also take a toll on self-esteem.
Motor Skill Activities for Children
- Fine Motor Skill activities
Gripping pencils, scribbling, and cursive writing
Drawing favorite objects
Playing musical instruments
- Gross Motor Skill Activities
Lower body exercises
They work the muscles that are below the waist, primarily legs, but and thighs. Some examples are squats, lunges, agility, and footwork.
Upper body exercises
They target five major parts of the upper body: chest, shoulders, triceps, biceps, and the back. Some examples are pushups, pullups, planks, and sit-ups
Also called range-of-motion exercises keep the muscles elastic and the joints moving freely. They help us get bendy. Since these activities may aggravate an existing injury, however, children having a record of injuries should consult an athletic trainer or physical therapist about an appropriate flexibility program. Some activities are yoga, ballet, and stretching exercises.