Fine & Gross Motor Performance

What are motor skills:

The development of motor skills is a crucial step in a child’s life. These skills occur once the brain, nervous system, and muscles all function together to help make movements. Over time, your child will begin to develop both fine and gross motor skills. This can happen during their day to day through directed activity or free play. The development of these skills is crucial for a child to be able to grow and become more independent. The skills are normally marked by certain milestones at different stages of a child's life. Making sure your child is reaching these milestones is important. When a child has a handle on these skills and feels as though they are in control, they’ll have an easier time exploring the world around them as well as aiding in cognitive development.

Gross Motor Skills:

Gross motor skills are considered our physical skills that involve body movement. These skills center around the core stabilizing muscles in your child’s body as well as hand-eye coordination. Proper control of these skills allows your child to perform everyday functions such as:

  • Standing

  • Walking

  • Running

  • Jumping

  • Sitting upright

  • Catching a ball

  • Throwing

  • Kicking

Fine Motor Skills:

Fine motor skills are built off of the movements acquired from your gross motor skills. While they aren’t technically learning skills, they do consist of smaller movements that allow your child to learn and show that they have learned. These skills can be seen in daily tasks they have to do, such as brushing their teeth or getting dressed. Many school-related skills require your child to be in control of their fine motor skills as well. For example, fine motor skills could be:

  • The ability to hold a crayon or pencil

  • Drawing pictures

  • Writing neatly

  • Stacking blocks

  • Stringing Beads

  • Using scissors

Different Stages:

From the time they are born, your child will begin to slowly acquire certain skills. These skills can be broken down during the following life stages:

  • Birth to 12 months - During the first couple of months, your child will be able to sit without assistance and rollover. By 7 months they should be crawling and picking objects up.

    • Your child may or may not be able to stand up by 12 months

  • 12 to 18 months - During this time your child should begin walking. Over time their coordination will improve as well. At around 15 months your child will acquire skills that allow them to build block towers or scribble on paper. By the time they reach 16 to 18 months they’ll be able to walk backward and go up and down the stairs.

  • 18 months to 2 years - At this point, your child will gain the ability to throw and kick a ball. The accuracy will come over time though as they continue to practice these skills. During this time there will be a lot of growth in fine motor skills including being able to spoon feed themselves, using regular drinking cups, washing their hands, and using puzzles.

  • 3 years and older - At this point in time, your child has developed their gross motor skills and will be able to stand on one foot, ride a tricycle, and dress/undress themselves. Their fine motor skills that have developed will include feeding themselves, solving puzzles, pouring liquids, and drawing shapes.

Keep in mind that over time your child's fine and gross motor skills will not only continue to develop but also become effortless.

It’s important to alert your doctor if you notice that your child is not meeting the proper skill-set milestones. Luckily, at Therapy Services of Greater New York, we offer occupational and physical therapy services to children with special needs, ages 0-21. With Pediatric OT and Sensory Integration gym available, we can help your kids reach their fullest potential. If you’re interested in learning more, contact us today!