Developing Motor Skills - FamilyEducation

Motor Skill Development

Writing and manipulating small objects requires fine-motor skills. Use these resources, tips, and tools to help develop your child's motor skills.

Batting Balls

Batting BallsTime 5 to 10 minutes Materials Balloons Directions It will be a long time before your child has sufficient strength and hand-eye coordination to hit a ball with a bat, but this is an activity that can lead the way to that skill. Inflate a few balloons to use as balls and sit a few feet away from each other, batting them with the hands as they move slowly by.Dispose of the balloons after you are finished, as they pose a choke hazard. Extensions read more

Beanbag Toss

Beanbag TossTime 5 to 10 minutes Materials Large laundry basketPlastic sandwich bags or old socksPackage of dry beans Directions read more

Brush My Hair

Brush My HairTime 5 minutes Materials Hairbrush Directions Show your toddler how to brush your hair and express your enjoyment and appreciation with these early attempts to give you pleasure. Extensions Pull out a hand mirror and say, "See how pretty!"Add a short spray of cologne to each of your heads to make your hair smell nice.Go together in front of a mirror and admire the work. read more

Building Muscles for Writing

Building Muscles for WritingYour little one can use her hands and fingers to play with toys and to do many things for herself. This helps her develop the muscles and coordination needed to begin writing. Here's how. Give them homemade toys to play with. Make a simple puzzle for your toddler by gluing a picture to cardboard and cutting it into five or six pieces. Provide dress-up clothes with buttons and zippers. Offer scrap paper to be torn. read more

Busy Fingers

Busy FingersTime 5 to 10 minutes Materials Handful of unsweetened cereal pieces Directions This is an old stand-by but one that requires intense concentration with a built-in reward. It helps the baby to develop hand-eye coordination that is needed in so many upcoming tasks. Spread some cereal out on the high chair tray or other play area and let the baby pick up the pieces and pop them into her mouth. Extensions read more

Center of the Universe

Center of the UniverseTime 5 to 10 minutes Materials Several scarves Directions Children love to spin around until they become dizzy and fall down. It makes them the center of their world as everything spins around them. Hold scarves out at shoulder level as you both twirl. Besides providing a rush of floating color, the scarf will also keep the arms high and enhance balance. Extensions read more

Characteristics Checklist for Asperger's Syndrome: Motor Skills

Print out and use this checklist to help in an initial diagnosis of Asperger's syndrome in your child. You can find more checklists on Asperger's syndrome here. read more

Crazy Walk

Crazy WalkTime 5 to 10 minutes Materials None Directions Following directions helps your child master the mind and body. Walk slowly around the room using music to set the pace.Call out a movement such as forward, backward, sideways, little steps, giant steps, like a cat, like an elephant, etc., and respond as quickly as possible. Extensions read more

Fishing for Colors

Fishing for Colors Activity for an individual child Age group: 30-40 months Duration of activity: 20 minutes Materials: read more

Freeze and Melt

Freeze and MeltDirections Have your child run freely around the space. When you say freeze or clap your hands, she must stop and remain absolutely still. When you say melt, your child can relax and start to move around again. Continue freezing and melting in various shapes. Let your child say freeze and melt while you move around the room. Be creative with the shapes you choose to become. read more

Fun Sign Language

Fun Sign LanguageDirections Involve your child in making up signals with their hands, arms, and fingers. Each signal should stand for a word or expression. Keep it simple and see how many your child can come up with and remember. This could become a game a secret or private language between you and your child. read more

Gifted Boy Lacks Fine Motor Skills

It is very possible to have a gifted child who is verbally/linguistically gifted, but delayed in fine motor skill development. read more

Gravity Challenge

Gravity ChallengeTime 15 to 20 minutes Materials None Directions Balance is steadily emerging and can improve with practice. With this simple exercise, you are the catalyst through your simultaneous involvement. Work together as you close your eyes and stand on one foot and then on the other, alternating feet. See if you can invent ways to make it easier, such as holding the arms out to the sides. Extensions read more

Heart Prints

Heart Prints Activity for an individual child Age group: 18-40 months Duration of activity: 15 minutes Materials: read more

High Water

High WaterTime 15 to 30 minutes Materials Piece of rope at least 6 feet long Directions This activity strengthens the muscles and focuses attention. Tie one end of the rope to a tree or chair and hold the free side about 2 feet off the ground.Challenge your child to go under the rope by crawling or scooting on the tummy.Lower the rope a few inches each turn and repeat as many times as possible. Extensions read more

How Well Do You Know Preschoolers?

Take our quiz to find out if you have the right expectations for your three- or four-year-old. read more

In the Slot

In the SlotTime 10 to 15 minutes Materials Poker chipsEmpty coffee can with plastic lidScissors or knife Directions This activity challenges emerging fine motor skills and requires that your child sit still and work patiently. Cut a 2 by 1/4-inch slot in the plastic lid and put it back on the container.Show your child that the plastic poker chips can be dropped through the slot in the container. Extensions read more

Jingle Toes

Jingle ToesTime 15 to 30 minutes Materials Needle and threadElastic 4 to 6 jingle bells Directions read more

Keystroking Activities

Keystroking ActivitiesToday's young children are a generation of computer-literate whiz-kids, in which computer technology is becoming more and more a part of their everyday life--and at an earlier age! The basic skill of "keystroking" is a fine-motor bi-manual skill. read more

Kindergarten Prep: Cutting with Scissors

Kindergarten Prep: Cutting with ScissorsIt is most likely that you will find scissors on the "back-to-school" shopping list. You will want to select a good pair of child-sized scissors that your child can hold comfortably in his hand and that will easily cut paper. Be leery of really cheap scissors as these can make the cutting process more difficult and they will most likely fall apart before too long. read more

Kindergarten Prep: Name Writing

Kindergarten Prep: Name WritingThe step following mark-making is letter writing, creating symbols that are recognizable to you and to your child. Young children often make the most progress writing the letters in their name before writing any others. As mentioned in the section on name recognition, a young child is interested in writing her own name because it has meaning to her and she feels a great sense of pride when she can write her name all by herself. read more

Kindergarten Prep: Writing Tools

Kindergarten Prep: Writing ToolsIn learning to write, your child first needs time to explore a variety of writing tools. Over time you will introduce how to hold writing tools properly and your child will begin to perfect her skills in using those tools. For now, the goal is to introduce a variety of writing tools and give your child opportunities to explore those tools as a way to promote her fine-motor strength and skills. read more

Let's Move!

Let's Move!Directions:At an early age, children associate how they move to words that describe the movements they make. For example: run, lie down, stand up, walk. This activity will help your child build his movement vocabulary. read more

Let's Pretend

Let's PretendHere's an activity that encourages your child to explore and invent movement.Directions Have your child tell a story by acting it out with body movements, or ask him to move with different types of walks (downhill, on parade, stiff, up stairs) or pretend to use different kinds of vehicles (bicycle, skateboard, car, horse, and so on). This will provide your child with the opportunity to explore and invent movement. read more

Life-Sized Foil Figures

Life-Sized Foil FiguresTime 20 to 30 minutes Materials ScissorsMasking tapeHeavy-duty aluminum foil Directions read more

Log Roll

Log RollTime 5 to 10 minutes Materials Open, grassy area Directions read more

Motor Skills Problem in Five-Year-Old

A mother is concerned when her child's teacher talks about her son's "sloppy coloring and handwriting." read more

Observing Fine-Motor Difficulties in Children

Observing Fine-Motor Difficulties in ChildrenObservable BehaviorsHere is a list of observable behaviors of children with fine-motor difficulties. read more