Motor Skills Development

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Babies aren't born with fully capable motor skills. They must learn both gross and fine motor skills as they are growing. Read on to learn more about motor development, and the challenges of learning to crawl, walk and run.

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Motor Development

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Motor Development

The motor development comes through experiencing and trying to do many activities. Gross motor skills involve the large muscles of the body. They evolve from babies rolling over and crawling, to walking, running, jumping, and throwing a ball. Fine motor skills generally involve the hands and fingers. These are more intricate manipulations of objects, such as writing, building a Lego model, or sewing.

Both gross and fine motor skills develop in stages. Within the first few months of life, a baby learns how to lift their head then to control head movement. The next gross motor skills involve being able to roll over, and then sitting upright. By about eight months a baby starts to crawl. By nine months a baby can often stand up by leaning on furniture. Within a month after standing, a baby is starting to walk by holding onto furniture. By the age of eleven months a baby can stand unsupported, and even walk holding a parent's hands. By twelve to fifteen months a baby may be walking independently. That's a lot to learn in just over a year. By two years old a child is already running, kicking a ball, and peddling a tricycle. At this age the child is also learning to accurately throw and catch a ball. Finally, by the age of five or six, a child is learning to jump rope or ride a bicycle.

Fine motor skill develops in a similar progression. By the age of three months a baby evolves from clenched fists to being able to open hands and grasp objects. At the age of four months a baby starts to reach for objects, and can put his fingers and hands in his mouth. A month or two later, a baby is putting toys and other objects in the mouth. The baby also starts to use a spoon or cup with a handle. At seven or eight months old, the baby is starting to individually control thumbs and fingers. From nine to eleven months a baby begins to release and stack objects. By twelve months the baby can stack small blocks, and put objects into a container. At fifteen to eighteen months a baby is throwing a ball, and scribbling with a crayon. At two to three years old, the child is able to turn pages of a book, and undo buttons on clothing. By the age of four or five, a child is able to screw together threaded objects, and accurately cut with scissors. Finally, at six or seven years old the child is able to copy printed letters holding a pencil, and tie a bow on their shoes.

Children develop strong gross and fine motor skills through practice and experience. To develop good gross motor skills a child should be encouraged to run, hop, climb, and play ball. For fine motor skills, it is important for children to get exposed to activities such as puzzles, painting, cutting, blocks, threading and playdough.

Every child learns and develops at their own pace. Patience and encouragement go a long way in helping a child develop gross and fine motor skills.


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