Keep It Moving! Promoting Motor Development

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As children grow it is important for them to remain physically active in order to develop their motor skills. Practicing a variety of physical activities helps children develop their gross motor abilities, such as strengthening the large muscles in their legs, arms and torso. Children also need to engage in fine motor activities that help them develop the smaller muscles in their fingers, as well as their hand-eye coordination.

Keeping your child active in fun ways that get their muscles moving will help them to develop their motor abilities! Below is a list of some fun, physical activities to promote motor development:

Gross Motor Activities for Kids:

  • Playing games like “Simon Says” or “Follow the Leader”, so that kids can imitate standing or hopping on one foot, jumping up and down and crawling

  • Taking a walk around the neighborhood while walking forward, backwards, sideways, and on tiptoes

  • Playing red light, green light while walking can be a fun

  • Including musical instruments to make a parade is another engaging alternative

  • Creating and maneuvering through obstacle courses in which children climb over and under chairs, cushions, boxes or other items you have around the house or yard

  • Pretending to be animals, vehicles, and characters, to include jumping, running, skipping, and galloping; try bear walk, crab walk, and wheel-barrow walk

  • Playing with balls by kicking, catching, bouncing, rolling, and throwing

  • Riding tricycles or scooters

  • Playing on playground equipment, such as swings, see-saws, slides, and rocking horses

Fine Motor Activities for Kids:

  • Picking up small objects (e.g., coins, raisins, cereal, beads, etc.) with finger and thumb (for children over age 3!)

  • Playing games and singing songs with finger movements, such as patty cake , and “Where is Thumbkin”

  • Putting toys in and out of containers (e.g., shape sorter)

  • Playing in sand or water in order to dump and pour in and out

  • Playing with toys, such as puzzles, nesting cups, and shape sorters of various sizes

  • Stringing beads or lacing cards

  • Cutting with scissors (for children over age 2 with adult supervision)

  • Building with blocks or playdough

  • Drawing and painting

These are just some examples of possible activities, and they can be adapted to you and your child’s specific interests or needs. The most important thing is keeping your child moving in ways that will help them develop these motor skills, and help them grow up strong and healthy!

By Kimberly Morales, M.A., BCBA
Clinical Director,
Tuesday, April 30, 2019