Motor Skills Development for Children

Young children can have a problem with motor skills for various reasons. This can stop them from playing and having fun because they are unable to use their large muscles. This can affect activities including running, throwing and jumping. There are motor development activities of a great benefit to these children.

The Pretend Games

One of the most important aspects of motor development is an understanding of what the body is capable of. Children have amazing imaginations, and this can be helpful when playing pretend games. The extent of a child’s motor skills can be discovered by having them pretend to be an airplane and fly, or hop like bunny, or waddle like Donald Duck. The child can pretend to be whatever they want, so the adult can guess.

Rolling Downhill

Many people have good memories of rolling down hills as a child. This activity makes a child aware of the connection between their lower and upper bodies. An afternoon spent playing on a gently sloping hill is fun and educational for the child.

Bubbles and Balloons

Motor development for children can be accomplished with bubbles and balloons. Both teach gross motor skills and hand to eye coordination. The child will have a lot of fun chasing the bubbles and trying to pop them, or using their open palms to keep a balloon in the air.


Hopscotch challenges kids because they must jump and hop. Both require coordination, balance and strong muscles. For kids with gross motor issues, practicing hopscotch is an excellent idea. The pattern can be easily alternated, so the child can hone their sense of balance. They can hop on both legs, then just one. On rainy or cold days, a game of hopscotch can be set up indoors by using colored tape.Motor Skills

The Playground Swings

A child will start to develop balance by learning to swing on a playground swing. Moving the legs backwards and forwards, and the shifting of the weight help build coordination. Motor development activities also include climbing up equipment, and using a slide.


Children have been playing with play-dough for many years. Not only do the kids have a lot of fun, they develop some very important skills by handling the play-dough. Finger muscles are strengthened when the play-dough is stretched and squeezed, and an invaluable sensory experience is gained when it is touched.

A Dance Party

Children love to dance, and their awareness of rhythm is built by dancing to the music. This additionally helps improve gross motor skills. Certain songs use lyrics calling for a specific movement. This includes The Hokey Pokey and I’m A Little Teapot. This type of game will get the child to move their bodies in coordinating ways.

Bathroom Murals

Making murals for the bathroom is an excellent way to improve manual dexterity and cutting skills. The child is taught how to cut thin pieces of a crafting foam safely. The shape can be whatever appeals to the child. During the child’s bath, they simply wet the foam, then stick it to the side of the tub or the wall.

Simple Balancing Acts

Balancing is much less intimidating when the child can practice with both feet on the ground. Take a piece of tape or string, and extend it on the floor in a straight line. The child can learn balance by walking on the line. A balance beam is easy to make and only requires a couple planks of wood on the lawn.

Macaroni Necklaces

A child can use their creativity while learning to manipulate objects, and developing their hand to eye coordination. An excellent way to accomplish this is by stringing macaroni, good sized pieces of dry pasta or big beads onto thick string. Once the child can accomplish this, smaller pieces can be used to create complex designs.

The Indoor Obstacle Course

Obstacle courses are not only fun, they get a child to move, and they are excited about accomplishing goals. Create the area with furniture, blankets and pillows the child can crawl through, under and on. Design obstacles so the child will be challenged by balancing, running, crawling and jumping.

The Broken Crayons

When a child has difficulties with their motor skills, gripping a pencil can be difficult. When the child colors with broken or small crayons, they learn the right way to hold the crayon. This is right between their thumb and forefinger. Mini-golf course pencils and little pieces of chalk work as well. What is used is not important, and this activity will challenge the child while they are having fun.

Finger Painting

Finger Paint for Motor SkillsThe manual dexterity and hand to eye coordination of a child can be strengthened with finger painting. All that is necessary is a thick piece of paper, or an easel, a small selection of finger paints, and an appropriate space in the garage or yard. Anywhere it is all right for the child to get messy.

The Paper Dolls

Kids have been making paper dolls for generations, and they still adore them. When the child folds the tabs, and cuts out the dolls, important hand muscles are strengthened. The child should begin by cutting out bigger dolls and outfits. Once they have the necessary skills, they can start cutting out smaller pieces. Paper dolls are great for boys too, if the characters are of interest to the child.

The String Games

String games can be enjoyed for hours, and Cat’s Cradle has been a favorite for many years. The hand to eye coordination and strength of the fingers are improved with string games. All it takes is a little yarn, and some time to work with the child.

The Sponge

Using two separate bowls, leave one empty, and fill the other with water. Have the child soak the sponge in one bowl, then squeeze out all the water into the empty bowl. The water can be transferred back and forth. This will strengthen the forearms and hands. Food dye or bubbles make the game even more fun.


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