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What Are the Fine Motor Skills and Why Proper Development of These Skills is Important?

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A motor skill is simply an action that involves your kids using his muscles.They are divided into two groups: gross motor skills and fine motor skills. Both types of motor skills usually develop together, because many activities depend on the coordinatio
A motor skill is simply an action that involves your kids using his muscles.They are divided into two groups: gross motor skills and fine motor skills. Both types of motor skills usually develop together, because many activities depend on the coordination of gross and fine motor skills.

Gross and Fine motor skills have become an important parameter for assessing the development of the child. So it’s important to develop these skills in them which will in turn help them to perform better academically and physically too.

Gross motor skills involve the large muscles of the body involving physical movement of the child like running, jumping, hopping etc. These require balance and coordination skills

Fine motor skills are the collective skills and activities that involve the small muscle movements using the hands, fingers with vision.

Today we are learning about 'fine motor skills', and its importance. Moreover what tasks your kids can perform if he/she has developed fine motor skills properly. Fine motor skills are the coordination of small muscle movements especially the coordination of finger movement with vision to perform precise and refinded movements. These skills are acquired as children, and humans secure and perfect them throughout life.

Importance of fine motor skill development:

Properly Developed Fine Motor Skills Are Important To Every Day Living. Parents can help their kids to practice, enhance, and evaluate fine motor skills.  Fine motor skill development is not only essential for handwriting; it is a necessity for daily living: dressing, eating and computer use.

Fine motor skills require a child to manipulate and gain control over a range of materials and tools. These are often for communication purposes both functional and expressive, eg writing a name or message, manipulating a computer mouse, creating a sculpture. Opportunities to develop these skills exist in all six key learning areas of the primary curriculum.                                                                                                        

Fine motor skills typically develop in a reasonably consistent and predictable pattern in the early years of childhood (from birth through to mid primary school). The process begins in infancy when a 2- to 3-month-old baby first bats at a toy, then progresses to grasping, releasing, and transferring objects between their hands). They then progress to using fingers to manipulate and explore things, stack blocks, self-feed, and dress, and as time goes by, during the early childhood years, use ‘school tools’ such as scissors, markers, crayons, pencils, and glue.

Weaknesses in fine motor skills can affect a child's ability to eat, write legibly, use a computer, turn pages in a book, and perform personal care tasks such as dressing and grooming.

To have fine motor control, children need:

  • Awareness and planning
  • Coordination
  • Muscle strength
  • Normal sensation

The following tasks can only occur if the nervous system matures in the right way:

  • Cutting out shapes with scissors
  • Drawing lines or circles
  • Folding clothes
  • Holding and writing with a pencil
  • Stacking blocks
  • Zipping a zipper

The components of fine motor skills can be considered to be:

  1. Grasping -eg using a crayon, pencil, brush, glue stick, beater, blocks
  2. Manipulating - eg playdough, clay, unifix, centicubes, paper, sewing, scissors, fingerplays
  3. Hand-eye co-ordination - eg writing, cutting, threading, moving a cursor, using a glue gun

The building of fine motor skills in children will enable them to perform a variety of important functional tasks.

  1. tying shoes
  2. zipping and unzipping
  3. buckling and unbuckling
  4. writing legibly and without significant muscle fatigue
  5. playing games that require precise hand and finger control
  6. drawing, painting, and coloring
  7. manipulating buttons and snaps                                                 
  8. putting small objects together
  9. doing puzzles
  10. making crafts
  11. using scissors
  12. manipulating small objects such as coins
  13. opening and closing objects
  14. picking up and holding onto small objects
  15. developing and maintaining an effective and proper pencil grip
  16. pinching objects between fingers
  17. using locks and keys
  18. being able to isolate finger movements (i.e., using one finger at a time, such as in playing the piano or typing)
  19. turning things over or turning pages of a book
  20. holding and using utensils properly and effectively
  21. screwing and unscrewing
  22. doing ANYTHING that requires small precise hand and finger movements

Early developmental skills and milestones work together to provide a solid foundation for the more integrated motor skills required in upper grades. These higher-level skills include being able to write fluently and focus on writing content (such as conveying information, thoughts, and ideas) rather than on the mechanics of writing, which involves pencil grasp, letter formation, spacing, and sizing.

Useful links:

* The Secret To Making Fine Motor Skills Activities For Children Fun

* Fine Motor Skills and How to Improve Them


Posted on Aug 21, 2011
Ron Siojo
Posted on Aug 18, 2011
Posted on Aug 17, 2011
Sandy James
Posted on Aug 17, 2011
Sibt-e-Hassan Raja
Posted on Aug 17, 2011

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Amera Khanam

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