Physical motor skills are what we use to coordinate and move the muscles in our body. Physical coordination, although crucial to a child’s development, is often-overlooked. A child’s day-to-day life utilizes both gross and fine motor skills.
Gross motor skills incorporate the use of multiple muscle groups to achieve a movement. The acts of walking, running, playground skills (e.g. climbing), sports activities (e.g. catching and throwing a ball), and even dressing (e.g. being able to stand on one leg while putting the other leg through your pant) are all examples.
Fine motor skills coordinate the use of small muscles, and include writing, scissor skills, eating (e.g. the use of cutlery), hygiene (e.g. brushing your teeth and hair), and much more. Fine motor skills require precise coordination.
Gross motor skills can influence the child’s fine motor skills. For example, when a child is sitting at a desk, good posture is required to hold the body upright. If the body is not in an upright position (gross motor skills), the child will have trouble with penmanship (fine motor skills). Having strong physical motor skills can empower a child’s overall development. Motor skills have a direct overlap on how a child performs academically, operates in sporting environments, and interacts socially with peers.
Children suffer from deficiency in physical motor skills due to a variety of factors. Many aren’t provided the opportunity to improve in this area simply because they aren’t receiving the attention needed, and the reality that physical motor skills are not prioritized in today’s educational environment. While some children acquire the skills on their own and improve over time, many do not as technology and digital devices take over children’s activities in school and at home. A lack of coordination due to poor motor skills can carry over into adolescence and adulthood if left unchecked.
Poor motor skills can lead to low self-esteem and anxiety. When children cannot physically keep up with their peers, feelings of self-doubt start to accumulate. Children who do have well-developed motor skills have a can-do attitude, which can positively influence many other areas in life.
At Little Thinkers Center, we employ an individualized approach to guide each child to develop refined physical motor skills. We use a series of highly engaging, experiential games and activities to cultivate coordination and instill productive habits so they become second-nature. General and Discriminative Movement Thinking exercises improve children’s control over gross and fine motor skills in order to achieve smooth, physically coordinated actions. With our younger children, Graphic Thinking activities are also introduced to enhance activities that involve the arm-hand-finger-visual processes needed for drawing, coloring, writing, and cutting. Awareness and intellectual knowledge of one’s bodily movements and capabilities generated through these thinking games will enhance your child’s belief and confidence to successfully tackle more advanced spatially-coordinated actions.