Effectively Encouraging Motor Skill Development

Effectively Encouraging Motor Skill Development

There are many things we can do to positively promote appropriate development of both gross and fine motor skills in young children. But first of all, we need to understand why exactly these skills are so essential.

Fine motor development refers to the development of coordination of small muscles, usually involving the synchronization of the hand and the eye. We constantly use these skills in our day to day life, without even giving it a second thought! These skills are essential for the development of handwriting skills for example.

Gross motor skills are larger movements that require the use of bigger and often multiple muscles, such as crawling, running and jumping. When gross motor skills are underdeveloped, there may often be a delay in a child’s mobility.

Fine motor skill development at Caterpillar

Whilst it is important for us to develop the use of fine motor skills at all ages, we must also remember to adapt our practices to suit the age of the children that we are directly working with. For example, the children in our youngest age group (2 – 12months) will be mostly focusing on developing the progression of grasp, from a palmar grasp, to digital grasp, and eventually pincer grasp. These small milestones are the foundations for many intricate movements we practice in our adult lives. Once the children reach the age of 3, they will begin to develop the use of pencil control and scissor skills. However, had the progression of the palmar grasp not occurred sufficiently beforehand, the child would most likely struggle to develop these key skills. But should you suspect your child is facing these difficulties, don’t panic! In cases where the palmar grasp progression has not occurred appropriately, further provision can be provided to ensure the needs of the child as an individual are met sufficiently!

Developing motor skills at home

Developing motor skills at home is probably one the easiest, and most engaging types of activity you can do with your child. Simple activities such as throwing and catching games, to ball games and outdoor play will encourage the development of gross motor skills greatly. Painting is also another fantastic way to encourage the use of big arm movements, whilst also allowing your child to express their creativity!

Fine motor skills can also be encouraged in a number of ways, using everyday items that can be found at home. Using pegs to pick up smaller items, or pegging together to build models is an easy and effective way of developing fine motor skills. Using playdoh and other malleable materials allows for  the promotion of dexterity, whilst also exploring the senses!

Check out the website below for lots of simple but effective ideas;





Rachel O’Leary – Nursery Manager,

Caterpillar Nursery.

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