Motor Skills Development in Children : Everything You Need to Know

Go back to  'Parenting'

June 10, 2020

Reading Time: 4 minutes

What are motor skills?

Motor skills can be defined as a function that involves a regular and precise movement of muscles to perform a specific act. It is the ability to feel or sense and control the movements and the activities of the muscles. Different kids develop these different motor skills at different rates. Motor skills can be categorized into two parts:

  • Gross motor skills

  • Fine motor skills

In this article, we will keep our focus on gross motor skills. Gross motor skills refer to muscle movements that allow us to perform tasks like balancing, walking, or crawling. These are generally associated with continuous tasks. Gross motor skill development generally takes place in childhood. It can further be divided into two sub-groups:

  • Locomotive skills such as running, jumping, and swimming, etc.

  • Object control skills such as kicking, throwing, and catching, etc.


Importance of Motor Skills in Children

Are these skills really this important? Why exactly do we need motor skill development in children?

Well, every parent wants their children to be independent. These activities which we term as motor skills can be regarded as a very small task. But, for infants and kids, this is a huge challenge. Motor skill development is of utmost importance because:

  • It helps the child to move and complete tasks independently

  • The child is able to develop his/her cognitive, speech, and sensory development

  • This gives the child a sense of confidence and independence

  • Motor skills are some of the most basic skills which will help them throughout their life

As adults, therefore it is very necessary to understand that a child needs motor skill development during childhood. A delay in motor skill development in childhood can cause long-term effects. These motor skills are something that must be practiced every day. For kids from each new task is the new challenge they must be encouraged to take up these challenges.


Factors Affecting the Development of Gross Motor Skills in Infants

There are a number of factors that can affect the development of gross motor skills in infants. Some of these factors are:

  • Access to media and technology which has provided kids with a number of opportunities to develop their physical motor skills

  • Presence of low muscle tone or high muscle tone 

  • Growing up in a protected environment 

  • A sedentary lifestyle, accompanied by a rich diet

  • Rewards and prizes that a child obtains for performing some activity

In general, gross motor skills are developed rapidly in the first five years of a child's life. The development takes place in four main areas. These areas are motor, communication, and language, cognitive, and social and emotional.

Parents and caregivers must follow a sequence and must try to develop the motor skills of a child at a very young age. It starts from the main body parts, including the head, neck, arms, and legs, and then moves to the subsidiary body parts, such as fingers, and toes. At the same time, it is very important to remember that each child is different and learns differently. Some of the tips to encourage motor development at different ages are as follows:


How to Encourage Your Child’s Motor Skills

Motor skill development for infants:

  • Make the babies learn how to crawl, then to stand and balance, and then to move. Slowly and steadily the move will get converted into a run.

  • Practice tummy time for a few minutes and increase the time slowly. This will help them grow stronger muscles.

  • Place toys nearby so your baby tries to move and get hold of them.


Around the age of 1:

  • Try and make your baby move and walk a little faster.

  • Let the child do some small other activities like flipping the pages of a book or watching videos etc.

  • Provide toys with moving parts that stay attached.

  • Start teaching him how to speak.


At 2 years old:

  • Make the toddler play games like building blocks.

  • Develop the speaking abilities of the child.

  • Play games like rolling the ball or running behind the child etc.


From ages 3 to 5: 

  • Visit a park and make the child play different games.

  • Make your child learn how to write or draw.

  • Make your child learn how to balance while doing different activities.

  • Make your child do different art and craftwork.

  • Have your child help you with simple household chores.

There are some motor skills that are specifically related to mathematics. Mathematics is a very different subject that needs a different kind of early development. If not started early, children can face a problem later on in their life. Some of the ways of improving the motor skills related to maths are the following:

  • Making a child understand different numbers and their combinations.

  • Making a child perform very simple calculations. 

  • Make them understand these things using objects or diagrams.

  • There are various maths development games that are available in the market.

  • Play games like a jigsaw puzzle, counting sticks, etc. to help the child learn and understand numbers.

  • Be a good role model and be supportive.

Cuemath comes up with regular articles on various topics which helps our readers to develop various skills, habits, and learnings related to maths. We try to help our students and other readers through our online platform and our maths application. These tips and these articles help both the parents and the teachers in the learning process of a child. Though we can be with your child only through live classes which teaches mathematics, our aim is never restricted to only that. We believe in the overall holistic development of the child including his personality, skills, abilities, and other traits.

Happy Parenting!!smiley

Best of Luck!!


Learn from the best math teachers and top your exams

  • Live one on one classroom and doubt clearing
  • Practice worksheets in and after class for conceptual clarity
  • Personalized curriculum to keep up with school