Physical Motor Skills
Physical skills development is all about teaching children how to control their bodies. This area is important for children to develop many skills for life, including walking, dressing, writing, eating and tending to personal hygiene.
- [Instructor] The physical skills domain is all about teaching children how to control their bodies.
It includes both gross motor or large muscle skills and fine motor or small muscle skills.
Large muscle groups that support the gross motor skills are used for activities like walking, going up and down stairs, running, throwing, jumping and catching.
Small muscle groups that support the fine motor skills are used for helping a child to manipulate objects, write, use utensils for feeding, picking things up.
Motor skill development is important for children to develop many skills for life.
It includes walking, dressing, writing, eating and tending to personal hygiene.
Developing motor skills leads to independence and contributes to a sense of accomplishment and self-worth.
In kindergarten, there are generally more children per teacher than there were in preschool so naturally, there is less help to go around.
It makes learning as well as teaching much easier if children come to kindergarten with minimal needs for assistance.
When children are able to keep up physically with their peers, they develop a can do attitude.
When we talk about physical motor skills, we're not referring to athletic ability which may come later for some children.
For now, physical motor development means being able to do things like walk up and down stairs with alternating feet, hop, run or catch a large ball.
To help your child develop physical motor skills when you are in the kitchen, have them help you stir ingredients like pancake batter or jello or ask your child to carry items to you such as potatoes, cans or secured juice containers.
In the living room or family room, you can have a place where your child can color or draw.
Allow your child to be creative.
Don't insist they draw a particular picture or stay within the lines.
Once he has mastered manipulating a writing object or drawing tool, he'll move toward activities with more control.
Even when you are in the bathroom.
Having your child climb the steps, step up on a stool to reach the sink, wring out a washcloth with her hands or brush her teeth, all require her to use both small and large muscle groups.
Let her do as much as she can for herself.
Support her with encouragement and by letting her know you will help her if she needs help.
Now you try.
Construction paper is inexpensive and can be used in a number of ways.
How could you use construction paper to help your child develop both fine and gross motor skills?
In terms of fine motor skills, some things you might have thought of are cutting with blunt-tip scissors, always with an adult present, folding, pasting or drawing.
What ideas can you come up with for gross motor skill development using construction paper?
One idea could be to make stepping stones or hopping blocks out of sheets of different colors.
Put them around the floor and ask your child to run to the yellow stone or hop to the green stone.
Another idea could be crumpling the paper into balls and tossing the balls into a waste basket which is a safe and fun way to help children develop arm strength as well as spacial perception.
If you haven't noticed by now, the four domains of school readiness do not exist in isolation from each other.
They do overlap.
For example in the stepping stones activity we just discussed, a child also learns cognitive skills such as color recognition, learning skills such as following simple instructions and social emotional skills like cooperation.
The recipe for physical development in all areas of school readiness is pretty simple.
Your home is your classroom, your daily activity is your curriculum.
And remember, you are your child's first and most important teacher.
Frequently Asked Questions