Fine motor skills - How to encourage the motor development of a small child
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.
When do babies start to grip?
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
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.