Stimulating motor skills in children is something that should be part of their daily routine, even if it is for a few minutes a day. Although it may not seem like it, working on fine and gross motor skills directly affects cognitive development, which makes it easier to learn various things throughout childhood.
When it comes to children’s learning, most think directly of the academic part, such as words and numbers. However, young children need to learn much more than that, as mental development goes hand in hand with physical development. For this reason, from an early age, it is recommended to introduce them to fine and gross motor skills activities, which allow them to obtain comprehensive benefits.
Focusing on gross motor skills and fine motor skills is not neglecting cognitive progress, as might be thought, since neuroscience has shown, through various studies, that exercise positively impacts brain structure and its functions. Therefore, incorporate some activities related to these two skills to achieve the correct progress of your little one.
What is gross motor?
This type of motor skills refers to the large movements of the body. That is, the actions of a broader nature, such as running, walking and jumping.
Gross motor skills are the first to be acquired and develop progressively from the first few months of age. Stimulating this motor skill is not very complicated and, as the child grows, activities can be carried out according to her age.
0 to 6 months
Babies in their first months do not make voluntary movements. These will start from 4 months. Therefore, the stimulation of gross motor skills is done by doing gentle exercises with them and also offering them toys to grasp.
6 to 12 months
At this point you can now animate the child’s movement, stimulating his crawling or his first steps. Remember that you should not force the little one, just motivate him.
Your muscles, thanks to these activities, will become progressively stronger and the identification of the environment will be more and more effective. You can press buttons and even place blocks on top of each other, in some cases.
1 to 3 years
The child begins to be more independent in this age range, so he may be reluctant to help him. However, at this point, you can already encourage him to climb stairs with help, play ball roll, encourage him to jump on two legs and start running.
3 to 5 years
This age is the precise moment so that, in addition to acquiring new skills, those already learned are consolidated. Among the gross motor activities for children 4 to 5 years old that you can do is playing with modeling clay, opening and closing containers, and allowing them to dress themselves.
On the other hand, by this stage, children will no longer need help with stairs, nor will they wobble when running.
5 to 7 years
Between the ages of 5 and 7, it is considered that children should already be close to acquiring their total autonomy. The little ones manage to maintain their balance more effectively, highly complex movements are perfected and some others are automated. That is, children no longer make a conscious effort to do certain things.
At this time it is recommended to introduce sports and physical exercises suitable for them, for example, playing with a soccer ball.
7 years and up
From the age of 7, children already reach their motor maturation and, for this reason, it is recommended that they carry out activities that favor their coordination and balance.
If they play a sport, this will come naturally. However, if that doesn’t happen, encourage them to keep moving by jumping rope, dancing, or jogging.
What is fine motor skills?
As you already know what gross motor skills are, and you understand that it refers to globalized movement, then it is easier to understand fine motor skills , since this is in charge of specific movements.
This motor ability is obtained at older ages and takes longer to perfect, since it is about achieving precise and refined movements.
Here the coordination of the whole body works, oculo-manual movements, oculo-pedal interactions and neurological functions that complement muscular actions.
Between the first months and the first year of life, children do not have a great coordination between their eyes and their movements. Their actions are unconscious and based on reflexes, therefore, it is considered that the achievements of fine motor skills begin to show from the year, when the little ones manage to grab things only with their fingers, pinching them.
1 to 3 years old
It is necessary to know how to work fine motor skills to help children to be more agile and precise. Even if you don’t see immediate gains, like with gross motor skills, little ones need to be stimulated more and more.
Offering thick colors for them to scribble or setting up activities where they have to separate small objects using their fingers are good forms of stimulation. Encourage them to use each of their fingers individually, whether it’s petting or pointing.
3 to 5 years
The advances that will be seen in this age range are incredible and, for that reason, the stimulation must not stop.
The child should be encouraged to continue drawing and, at the same time, parents should try to teach them things like tying knots, buttoning, unbuttoning, and handling age-appropriate scissors.
Little ones will also begin to write and their fingers, hands and wrists will become stronger.
from 5 years
From the age of 5 onwards, children no longer have many problems with fine motor exercises and begin to perfect them progressively.
At this time, the little ones can already learn to tie their braids, cut and glue correctly, start using rulers to make lines, etc.
When the child is young, you should know that any activity counts for its healthy development. At an early age, children acquire many skills that they will need throughout their lives and, for this reason, correct stimulation will help consolidate them. Therefore, dedicate enough time to the stimulation of motor skills, since this comes hand in hand with the integral development of the little ones.