Fine motor skills - How to encourage the motor development of a small child

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The motor development of a baby can be divided into the development of gross motor skills, i.e. the body's general mobility, and its fine motor skills. Fine motor skills include all of the movement abilities that we perform with our fingers, toes and faces. Babies and toddlers need lots of time and practice to learn these small, precise movements. Until they are able consciously to pull a face, hold a spoon or stack building blocks one on top of the other, they have to practice a variety of fine motor sequences again and again. This is todevelop the strength level that they require to do this.

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Fine motor skills


When do babies start to grip?

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Babies need to reach about one year old before they are able to lift things up or put them back down. During the first few weeks, the baby's hands and little fingers move mainly due to the gripping reflex that serves to protect him or her. This ensures that early in life they can hold on to things unconsciously.

Of course, babies' motor development is closely related to the development of their vision. Babies can only reach for objects once they can fully perceive and focus on them.


Motor skill development: grasping, throwing, feeling

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From the child's first birthday onward, it becomes apparent whether the child prefers to use his or her right or left hand. The dominant hand will become a little stronger and also more skillful,. Left-handedness and right-handedness is determined from the age of two. Most toddlers are able to pick up an object with just their thumb and index finger at one year old; this is known as the tweezer grip. Once they've mastered gripping often enough, they quickly discover how much fun it can be to throw things around.

How fine motor skills can be fostered and practiced

Fostering fine motor skills with motor skill toys

At mealtimes, it's easy to encourage a child to grab. With finger food cut up into small pieces, children can choose for themselves what to eat next and reach for it in a focused manner. Putting food onto a spoon is another step in motor development. Small children can also easily be encouraged to train their fine motor skills. Placing a colorful gripping toy out of the child's reach encourages the child to grab it.

Motor skills toys for babies create a lot of fun. In different stacking, inserting and sorting games, they have to put things on top of each other, into each other and back out again. The colorful wooden toys that foster fine motor skills train gripping and strength levels through play.