Learning Big & Small Movements
During the first five years, a child's brain grows at an astonishing pace. When a baby shakes a rattle or takes his first steps, connections are being made in the brain to tell certain muscles to work together to make those movements happen. These are called fine and gross motor skills — and they form a critical part of a child's development.
Fine motor skills are small movements that use the hands, fingers, toes, wrists, and other small muscles. Examples of fine motor skills include picking up cereal with a thumb and index finger, shaking a rattle, drawing circles with a crayon, turning the pages of a book, and stacking blocks.
Gross motor skills are bigger movements that use larger muscles and muscle groups like arms, legs, and feet to move the body. Examples of gross motor skills include sitting, crawling, running, jumping, throwing a ball, and climbing stairs. Even the first time a baby lifts his head is an example of gross motor skills.
There are lots of fun and simple activities you can do with your child to help develop gross motor skills.
Fine motor skills — like stacking blocks or holding a crayon — involve concentration and small, precise thumb, finger, hand, and wrist movements. To help strengthen your child's fine motor skills, you can:
Fine and gross motor skills develop as your child grows. Remember that each kid is unique and develops at a different rate. If you're concerned about your child's development, talk to your pediatrician or family doctor.