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Motor Skills

EYFS - Early years play and child development.

A motor skill is simply an action that involves using your muscles. 

Gross motor skills are larger movements that are made using arms, legs, feet, or his entire body, crawling, running, and jumping are gross motor skills.

Fine motor skills are smaller actions. When you pick objects up between fingers and thumb, or wriggling toes in the sand for example.  It's not just about fingers and toes though when a child uses there lips and tongue to taste and feel objects they are also using fine motor skills, too.

When a baby is newborn their brain is not mature enough to control skilled movement. 

Development starts with the head, and then moves down the body. So a newborn baby can control their mouth, face, lips, and tongue, with the rest following in time. 

A baby learns to control their neck before their shoulders and then shoulders before their back. A baby can control their arms before their hands, and can control their hands before their fingers. 

In any area of a young childs body, their gross motor skills develop before their fine motor skills. So they should be able to bring their arms together before they learn how to pass a toy from hand to hand.

However, for a young child to really do things for themselves they need to use gross and fine skills together. They will gradually get better at this as they grow. 

For example, when your child is about 18 months old they will be able to use a shape-sorting toy. They use gross motor skills to hold their body steady enough to grasp the shapes firmly. They will then use fine motor skills to twist or turn each shape to fit the right slot.

You can encourage a childs development by introducing more challenging items in the playground that will challenge them a bit more.  Watch for any changes in how they use their legs, arms, and fingers. 

When the children gets the hang of a game, find other games / features that practises new skills. You could try letting them pick up peas, poke fingers in play dough, or pass a toy from hand to hand. 

Try not to make things too difficult for them at an early age. Any change you make should encourage them to have a go at doing something just a little more difficult, not give up trying.

The children will find that developing their skills is more fun when theyhave a frequent change of position and activity. Small challenges, made often, are best for your their development.