What Are Motor Skills? The Difference Between Fine and Gross Motor Skills

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Last Update Date: 18 November 2019

More than ever before, children are having difficulties focusing, especially on their schoolwork. While parents tend to blame social media for this, the issue may be greater than too many distractions in the form of digital tools.

If a child is easily distracted and experiencing difficulties such as losing their place on the page while writing, the culprit may be weak motor skills.

Weak motor skills can slow a child down, making it challenging for them to learn at school. If this goes unaddressed, it can cause a snowball effect, deeply diminishing their chances of future success. Thus, parents should be conscious of this and arm themselves with the knowledge necessary to guide their kids. Understanding what motor skills are is the first half of the battle. Let’s take a closer look.

Defining motor skills and learning how to improve weak motor skills in children

Defining Motor Skills

A motor skill is basically the ability to activate certain muscles in accordance with a specific intention.

In order to be able to act consciously and in a controlled manner by moving a muscle, first the person should have the ability to “feel” the movement of the muscle. Motor skill difficulties arise when a person cannot move or loses the ability to move in order to complete an intended action. This can have a significant impact on school performance and motivation.

The fact that motor skills have a huge effect on a child’s education makes it a significant issue, especially for parents. Thus, it is crucial for parents to observe and notice if their children have any kind of weakness in motor skills.

Here are some issues associated with weak motor skills that a child may exhibit:

  • Illegible handwriting
  • Complications with letter formation
  • Difficulty in organizing thoughts
  • Inability to copy correctly from the board
  • Skips sections on a page
  • Poor posture (seated or standing)

NOTE: Some motor skill weaknesses, especially those seen in children, can be resolved with practice, using qualified motor skills exercises. MentalUP, a scientific and educational brain teasers app, was developed by academicians and pedagogues to help kids to improve their focus and memory with fun daily exercises.

Try MentalUP now!

What Are Gross Motor Skills? Defining Gross Motor Skills

Gross Motor Skills in Children, Kids’ Motor Skills for climbing

Gross motor skills are the ability to move large muscles to make a whole-body movement. Gross motor skills are important to perform everyday functions like standing, walking, sitting, jumping, etc.

Furthermore, movements that need a combination and coordination of different skills are also categorised as gross motor skills. Actions or sports completed using hand-eye coordination like catching a frisbee, kicking a ball or climbing, are great gross motor skill examples. Thus, gross motor skills are also related to coordination, reaction time, body awareness, strength and balance.

Gross motor skills have a great impact on children’s school performance as they make it possible to bind continuous brain activities with meaningful muscle activities, from carrying their school bags to sitting still at their desks in the classroom.

Scientific brain exercises and games that support coordination and balance help children to develop their gross motor skills.

As a participant of the University College London Institute of Education’s EDUCATE Program, MentalUP is a trusted platform used by numerous schools and thousands of families.

Try MentalUP Now!

What Are Fine Motor Skills? Defining Fine Motor Skills

Fine Motor Skills in Children, Kids’ Motor Skills for drawing

Fine motor skills are the ability to make small movements by using small muscles. These movements are so small that people usually don’t even recognise that they are doing them. However, fine motor skills can be seen as the foundation of performing larger tasks.

In general, fine motor skills have a big impact on performance, whether it is the quality of the outcome or the speed. A child needs fine motor skills to grab and use a pencil to draw something or to hold scissors to cut a shape out of a paper.

We can give numerous fine motor skill examples from daily life, such as brushing teeth, completing puzzles, opening food boxes, tying shoelaces, etc.

Activities to Improve Motor Skills

When a child is born, the brain is not capable enough to control skilled movements. First, the development starts at the baby’s head so it can move its lips, tongue or mouth. Then it starts to control and move the rest of the body. Gross motor skills are developed before fine motor skills. But in time, children need to use both gross and fine motor skills together to master their movements and abilities.

Parents can guide and help kids develop their fine and gross motor skills with some basic activities and exercises.

Fine Motor Skills Activities

1- Writing Activities:

Merely holding a writing utensil will help your child to develop fine motor skills. To enhance this process, simply use a pen or another creative writing tool, helping your child to form letters using straight and curved lines.

2- Gardening and Planting:

Planting seeds to grow new plants or replacing decaying plants alongside your children will help them develop hand-eye coordination. As an added bonus, this activity will also encourage your kids to appreciate nature.

3- Cutting:

Using different materials, help your kids cut out different shapes with scissors. Holding the scissors and cutting out the shapes are great activities for both having fun and building strong fine motor skills.

4- Buttoning Up:

In order to button something up, children need to use small muscles in their hands to maneuver the small buttons. Building the finger strength necessary to button something up will help them improve fine motor skills.

5- Using Technology:

Playing educational online games can help children strengthen their hand-eye coordination. However, it is important to find a tested and approved source like MentalUP, in order to ensure that the games your children are exposed to were created with the aim of improving their dexterity and mental fortitude.

Gross Motor Skills Activities

1- Trampolines:

Every kid loves trampolines. Trampolines are great tools to improve balance in kids and strengthen the muscles needed to run, skip, and hop.

2- Blowing Bubbles:

Blowing bubbles is fun. It is also one of the best ways to develop gross motor skills. As the bubbles fly with the wind, kids need to concentrate in order to follow and catch them.

3- Playgrounds:

Playgrounds are just like paradise for kids. They can run, climb, hang on the playground equipment, swing and do many more activities that will help them strengthen different muscles and gross motor skills.

4- Dancing:

Dancing is another great way to build gross motor skills. It helps kids develop their balance, muscles, motor sequence skills and coordination. It’s also a great way for kids to improve their self-confidence! Dancing allows children to strengthen the control they have over our limbs, meanwhile facilitating the development of gross motor skills.

There are numerous other activities to help children strengthen their motor skills. Parents should observe and guide their kids in pursuing balanced and healthy motor skills development. Using reliable online brain teasers through apps like

MentalUP

, which is developed by academicians and pedagogues to support brain activities such as focusing, memory, attention and hand-eye coordination, can make a great change in a child's future success.