Motor Skills and Physical Development

Photo provided by tridzindia.

When it comes to physical development, preschoolers are attempting to master an ever-changing task.  As a child grows (often in spurts so startling they suddenly begin looking akin to the Incredible Hulk in their own clothing), aspects such as her center of balance, strength, and limb length change with it.  This can make motor skill mastery particularly difficult (imagine trying to become a tennis pro while daily someone stealthily changes the reach and size of your racket as well as the weight and bounce of the ball), and it is just one reason why children need frequent opportunities for developing physical skills.

Motor skills can be broken down into two categories: fine motor skills, and gross motor skills.  (These may also be referred to as small motor and large motor.)  Fine motor skills include smaller movements, most often involving the fingers and hands and frequently involving eye-hand coordination and the use of a pincer grasp (the thumb to forefinger grasp used in activities such as writing, sewing, and lacing).  Gross motor skills are the larger movements using larger muscle groups, generally in the arms and legs such as jumping, running, kicking, throwing, and the like.

As children progress in their physical development and the development of motor skills, they also become more capable of developing self-help skills (dressing self, hanging up backpacks, using the restroom independently, etc.).  Developing this independence is necessary both for the child’s development of confidence and personal responsibility, while also easing the workload of the adults involved in the care of the child!

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31 responses to “Motor Skills and Physical Development

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