Motor Skill Development of Children

by Büşra Uysal

Babies are born with limited physical capabilities. Newborns fail many times and still don’t give up trying. As with sitting and other motor skills, they roll over and fall countless times. Motor skills are mostly overlooked abilities and may be disregarded easily. However, motor skills contain complex systems. The acquisition of competency in physical movement is a process. Throughout the stages of motor skill development, children are starting to be capable of motor skills that will turn into more complicated ones. It means to have more learning chances and explore their environment while still developing skills.

Major Components of Motor Skill Development

Babies’ first movements are reflexes that help them to gain strength to master motor abilities. Those can be noticed such as grasping and stepping reflexes which are universal. Babies are born with reflexes, and these help them to gain new motor skills. The physical movements of infants are limited, but they repeat the same movements like a million times (1).

motor skill development

The development of motor skills takes place in two major components. The first one is gross motor skills like grasping, throwing. The other one is fine motor skills such as writing, and any ability requires much more time for maturation. Gross motor skills develop earlier than fine motor skills. Fine motor skills start to get advanced rapidly in elementary school (2).

Gross and fine motor skills development allows children to build on basic to more advanced skills during childhood. For instance, if the children start to crawl, one of the gross motor skills, they become more independent and exposed to different environments (3).

Why Is Motor Development Important?

Importance of motor skill development in childhood

Importance of motor skill development in childhood (3);

  • You can follow a predictable sequence (development of a child starts from the inner body then outer; head to toes)
  • Motor skills related to other developmental aspects of the child. When a child can talk, they start to socialize, and fine motor skills lead to emotional and social development.

Stages Of Motor Development Chart

Here you can find out stages of motor development chart to spot some gross and fine motor skills. Spot your child’s age stage and look for activities to improve motor skills.


Activities for motor skill development


Support Motor Skills

In any phenomenon in psychology, there are always biological systems (heredity) and environmental factors.  Biology is what we passed down and has some universal determinants to affect development. Then, there is the environmental factor that we are exposed to. 

Parents or caregivers should provide an environment leads children can develop motor skills. They can encourage and be reciprocal and respond to children’s attempts to interact. To work on those, motor skills development, walking, running, jumping, and more skills need guidance and practice provided by someone (4). With the appropriate support, children can perform the proficient stage that specific motor skills by 6 to 10 years (5)

Some Activities

  • Place a toy in front of your child, help reach for a toy, practice crawling, and walk (3). 
  • Jump rope, dance, yoga, swim, riding scooters, and sports activities (6).

Support motor skills

  1. Barela, J. A. (2013). Fundamental motor skill proficiency is necessary for children’s motor activity inclusion. Motriz: Revista de Educação Física, 19, 548-551.
  2. Berger, S. E., Adolph, K. E., & Lobo, S. A. (2005). Out of the toolbox: Toddlers differentiate wobbly and wooden handrails. Child development, 76(6), 1294-1307.
  3. Help Me Grow. (n.d.). What is motor or physical development. Retrieved December 15 From
  4. Helen, B., & Boyd, D. (1981). The developing child. Singapore Journal of Education, 37.
  5. Jones, İ., & Bartlett Learning, L. L. C. Motor Development: Theoretical Models.

Related Posts

Leave a Comment