Motor skills are the underlying processes that cause movement of parts or the whole body. Motor skills can be categorised as either gross (large muscle movements) or fine (small coordinated muscle movements) motor skills. Examples of gross motor skills include jumping, running, catching, throwing and squatting. Examples of fine motor skills include drawing, writing, speaking and playing a musical instrument.
The importance of developing motor skills in children is due to the strong association between developed motor skills and a range of social and academic skills, such as interpreting letters and words, solving maths problems, writing and effective social interaction with peers and adults.
Children, and also adults, thrive when learning is made within a stimulating and enjoyable environment. Enjoyment leads to increased participation leading to an increase in children’s motor development. With this in mind we have compiled our top 5 fun and simple games that are geared towards developing children’s gross and fine motor skills.
-Teach the children to lie down on a soft surface and practice rolling in a perfectly straight line
-This is more complex than it looks and may require a visual guide for rolling straight
-To increase complexity have the children hold a soft object (such as a bean bag or tennis ball) in a particular part of their body and to roll and maintain control of the object. A few examples are to have both hands above head and hold ball between wrists, under the chin, between knees, under the armpit.
-Have children tapping a balloon and seeing how long they can keep it in the air, count the number of taps to improve counting ability
-To increase complexity try batting balloon with different body parts (elbow, knee, head) or to a sequence (right knee, left elbow…)
-Scatter cotton balls or pompoms around a small area and have children remove shoes and socks, then have them pick up objects only with feet and toes and place into the container
-To increase complexity have different sized objects or balls (such as tennis ball) and have children pick up objects in a specific order
-Have children pick up balls with 2 feet and have to hop with ball between feet and put into container
– Choose 5 fine motor activities that can be timed (examples: stringing beads on a shoelace, using tweezers to put buttons into a pill bottle, flipping 10 coins, putting paper clips on an index card
-Note the time taken for each child to do the activity and repeat activities regularly and see how each child progresses.
-Aim of the game is to crunch up as many pieces of magazine/newspaper as quickly as possible using only 1 hand
-To increase difficulty use multiple pages at once and have children practice throwing at targets.
Cameron, C. E., Cottone, E. A., Murrah, W. M., & Grissmer, D. W. (2016). How are motor skills linked to children’s school performance and academic achievement? Child Development Perspectives, 10(2), 93-98.
Kurtz, L. A., & Ebooks Corporation. (2014). Simple low-cost games and activities for sensorimotor learning: A sourcebook of ideas for young children including those with autism, ADHD, sensory processing disorder, and other learning differences. London;Philadelphia;: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
Sher, B., Butler, R., & Ebooks Corporation. (2009). Early intervention games: Fun, joyful ways to develop social and motor skills in children with autism spectrum or sensory processing disorders (1st ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Sher, B., & Ebooks Corporation. (2013). The whole spectrum of social, motor, and sensory games: Using every child’s natural love of play to enhance key skills and promote inclusion(First ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, a Wiley brand.
Keywords: fun, games, motor skills,