What is Motor Development, and How can we Strengthen it?
As always, finding a single definition for a particular term can be complicated, but according to the American Psychological Association motor development – APA Dictionary of Psychology motor development can be defined as it follows:
The changes in motor skills that occur over an entire lifespan, which reflect the development and deterioration of muscular coordination and control and are also affected by personal characteristics, the environment, and interactions of these two factors.
Motor development influences other aspects of human behavior, and it is a crucial component in the proper evolution of any human being.
Children develop relatively quickly. Between 0 and 5 years, they learn how to crawl, walk, run, jump. But they also learn how to write, grab a spoon, eat alone, talk, and so on. Thi is the part where you shed a tear because your child will grow so fast that it is almost painful.
All those activities are part of the overall definition of motor development. Usually, this definition splits into two different areas like the following:
- Gross motor skills: they begin to manifest at the earliest stages of growth when children learn how to move certain parts of their bodies like their core or head. After that, they will start to move hands and feet with purpose, use them to crawl and walk. These activities require the use of large muscle groups like the back, the core, the quadriceps, and so.
- Fine motor skills: these are the movements associated whit activities such as writing, grabbing, throwing, talking; activities that demand the use of small muscle groups, usually located in the hand, the wrist, and the face.
If we were talking about the gym, you could say that gross motor development is like compound lifts while fine motor development is more similar to isolation moves.
Is motor development associated with other areas?
As parents, we all love that moment when our child turns around, crawls, or walks for the first time. But then you can see us wishing the kids to simply stay put for just one second.
When children develop certain motor abilities, they are able to be more curious about their immediate world. That is why it is very common to find them in the kitchen with a parade of pans, under a rug or piece of furniture.
This exploratory behavior has a direct effect on the cognitive development of children. Curiosity leads to creativity and imagination, things we love to talk about here in our blog.
You can read more about the importance of creativity and imagination here.
How can you stimulate and enhance the motor movement of your children?
Early intervention and stimulation are crucial components to achieve the different motor milestones. If you remember from our previous definition, the environment, and personal characteristics influence motor skills development.
As parents, we must help and encourage our children to do certain types of motor activities to ensure their proper growth.
Activities for gross motor skills:
- Call them with a toy: if your child is learning how to turn, crawl or walk, you can call them to the other side of the room using their favorite toy.
- Physical activity overall: to promote gross motor development, there is no better formula than going outside and, yes, you guessed it, play! Children learn while playing so, if you have a playground, a monkey bar, a sandpit, or any kind of play equipment, kids will play with it. Any type of activity they do on those play structures will enhance the child’s development in the motor area while adding tons of fun to the formula.
Activities for fine motor skills
- Some types of playing: climbing and playing on a swing set are some of the outside activities a child can do to enhance the use of muscle groups associated with fine motor skills.
- Art and crafts: this is probably the most effective strategy for fine motor skills. Engaging in these activities will bring your child closer to developing creative thinking and other important cognitive abilities. Furthermore, art and crafts require patience and delicate touch. You know, there are few things as hard as drawing inside the lines where you are a child.
- Play pretend: for extra help, you can use some play pretend scenarios to engage fine motor skills. The classic tea party, the pretend-to-eat simulation, the classroom. These are all great opportunities to explode creativity and strengthen those smaller muscle groups.
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We design our products thinking about fun. But also with the idea to help you, as a parent, give your children all they need to reach their different developmental milestones.
Check our products and let us do the rest!