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Boost Your Child’s Motor Skills With 11 Fun Games!

What’s to be done when your energetic kid can’t go outdoors to play with his friends or engage in any school games and teams? Well, Mom and Dad, it’s time for you to start playing with your child to keep his motor skills running smoothly!

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Motor skills are motions and actions that take place when the brain, nerves, and muscles work together. There are two types of motor skills:

1. There are gross motor skills that are actions like sitting, running, jumping, climbing and crawling, which engage the large muscles in the arms, legs, feet, and torso.

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2. There are fine motor skills that are actions like holding utensils, writing with a pencil, doing up a button, picking up objects, etc., which engage the small muscles of the hands, wrists, fingers, and toes.

Our list of 11 fun games and activities is for gross and fine motor skills, so take your pick of any of these, Mom and Dad! Play one game every day, and your little one will forget the word “bored”!

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Activities For Gross Motor Skills

  1. Hopscotch

Age group: 3 – 4, 4 – 6 years

Hopscotch is a great game for engaging the arms and legs, as it requires jumping, hopping and general coordination. It also helps with learning how to balance and how to bend over and pick up things.

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How to do this:

Draw a hopscotch design on the floor, up to numbers 9 or 10. Use a small object (a stone, a plastic toy, etc.), and let your child throw it on the ground to land on one of the numbers. Then, your child must hop and jump across the hopscotch squares, avoiding the square with the object in it. On his way back down the numbers, he should stop and pick up the object and then complete his turn.

2. Tricycle Or Scooter Riding

Age group: 2 – 3, 3 – 4 years

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Peddling on a tricycle, scooter, or car puts your child’s legs into action, engaging his little muscles. It also enhances balance and hand-eye coordination.

How to do this:

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If your child doesn’t already have a tricycle or a scooter, it would be a good time to get him one by the age of 2 or 3! Supervise his cycle rides around the house, balcony, terrace, or society, and let him have lots of fun. While at home, you could even clear a place in your living room and let the pedalling begin!

3. Dancing

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Age group: 2 – 3, 3 – 4, 4 – 6 years

Dancing is a simple and fun activity that uses your little one’s arms, legs, and torso and strengthens balance and coordination.

How to do this:

Play some music that you can dance to, and have a fun little dance party with your little one!

4. Obstacle Courses

Age group: 3 – 4, 4 – 6 years

Obstacle courses will require your kid to jump, hop, crouch, crawl, run, and balance. Thus, it will engage all his major muscle groups, as well as his feet and toes.

How to do this:

Make an obstacle course for your child in your living room with pillows, furniture, blankets, boxes, etc. Help him cross it by telling him when he needs to jump, crawl, climb, or run. Make sure to have plenty of fun with him!

5. Ball Games

Age group: 3 – 4, 4 – 6 years

Ball games like catching, throwing, and kicking are great for enhancing your child’s gross motor skills, as there is plenty of arm and leg movement involved.

How to do this:

For younger children (3 to 4 years old), use big, light balls like beach balls for catching and throwing and kicking, as it won’t hurt them, and they will be able to judge the ball better. Make sure that they are on stable ground and unlikely to trip or fall, and then throw the ball to them carefully and lightly from a short distance, or have them kick it repeatedly with alternating feet.

Do the same for older children (4 to 6 years old), but you can use smaller balls, like light footballs. Teach them to focus on the ball, and give them tips on how to catch, throw, and kick it correctly.

Activities For Fine Motor Skills

  1. Playing With Play Dough

Age group: 2 – 3, 3 – 4, 4 – 6 years

There are plenty of little activities that your child can do with play dough. The actions of pulling, rolling, squishing, and shaping will work his little hands, wrists and fingers, and will increase his hand-eye coordination.

How to do this:

It’s always best to get non-toxic play dough. You can teach him how to roll, squeeze and pull apart the dough, and make all kinds of shapes like squares, spheres, triangles, etc. Together, you can make all sorts of fun objects like building blocks, lollipops, stick figures, and more. Don’t have play dough handy? Use some roti dough, it works just as well!

2. Drawing and Painting

Age group: 2 – 3, 3 – 4, 4 – 6 years

Holding a pencil, crayon, or paint brush, and moving it across the paper will engage the little muscles of your child’s hands, fingers and wrists, while also enhancing hand-eye coordination and expanding his imagination!

How to do this:

Your child must already be familiar with being able to draw and colour. Bring out all his colours, pencils and spare papers, and let him draw and paint to his heart’s content!

3. Activities Using Scissors

Age group: 3 – 4, 4 – 6 years

Using scissors to cut and snip activates all the muscles in your little one’s hands, fingers and wrists, and increases hand-eye coordination.

How to do this:

To start with, you can draw simple shapes on a piece of paper, and help your child cut along the lines of the shapes with kid-friendly safety scissors. Then, you can also do plenty of fun craft projects together that require drawing, cutting, and pasting. Remember, never leave your child unsupervised around scissors, or other sharp cutting tools.

4. Activities Using Tweezers

Age group: 3 – 4, 4 – 6 years

Using tweezers activates the “pincer” grip – using the index finger and thumb to make a pinching action – and thus strengthens finger grip, muscles and coordination.

How to do this:

Keep two small containers in front of your child. Fill one container halfway with one object like buttons, beads, raisins, grapes, nuts, seeds, or even rice grains (you can put different objects together when you play this the next time). Give your child a tweezer, show him how to carefully use it, and ask him to pluck the object one at a time from the full container and put it into the empty container.

To make it more interesting, get some containers for yourself, too, and make it a friendly competition of who puts the most objects into the empty container.

5. Threading Activities

Age group: 3 – 4, 4 – 6 years

The act of threading beads or other similar objects allows your child to use both hands in different capacities, thus strengthening coordination and movement in his non-dominant hand as well.

How to do this:

Get a long string of thread or yarn. Keep a box of different kinds of beads, or even pasta like macaroni, in front of your child. Help him string the beads or pasta onto the yarn. For older children, you can give them a simple, repetitive beading pattern to follow.

6. Playing With Water

Age group: 2 – 3, 3 – 4, 4 – 6 years

The simple act of squeezing out a sponge full of water will activate all the muscles in your child’s hands, wrists and fingers. It’s also a fun activity, and your little one will enjoy all the splashing about!

How to do this:

Get two small buckets, one filled with water, and the other empty. Get a sponge, and help your child soak it in the bucket of water, and then squeeze it out in the empty bucket. Repeat this as many times as you can. Try not to worry about the split water on the floor; you can always mop it up quickly later! The important thing is that your child has fun, and gets something out of doing the activity.

7. Wooden Rocking Stacker

Wooden Rocking Stacker 

Age Group: 10 – 24 months

Introduce your little one to stacking with the Rocking Stacker. Its gentle sway engages hand-eye coordination. Develop stacking skills, fine motor abilities, and precision in a delightful way for your child.

How to do this:

To use the stacker, first, find a flat, stable surface within your child’s reach. Demonstrate how to hold the rings and guide them in placing the largest ring on the stacker’s base. Emphasise the enjoyable rocking motion that occurs as they stack. Gradually introduce smaller rings, encouraging them to stack in the order. Offer support as needed, letting them explore and experiment. As their skills grow, challenge them to stack independently. Buy now to celebrate you child’s achievements while they enhance their stacking skills!

Shaili Contractor
Shaili's experience as a features writer and content editor has given her the opportunity to explore Indian brands and labels, music, art, restaurants and unique experiences that appeal to the new-age reader. From managing city operations to working on the product (both website and app), she has been trained to handle varied tasks. From her first stint as a journalist to dabbling in advertising, and then moving back to her first love - writing - she has had the chance to interact with many interesting people and sniff out stories that hold value. Shaili is currently a Senior Content Manager at FirstCry, Asia's favourite baby and kids platform. Previously, Shaili worked as an AGM at Little Black Book or LBB, a leading discovery-led and e-commerce platform in India. In her free time, she likes to read, write short stories and poetry, and play with her beloved four-legged fur buddy. Education & Specialization: B.A. Economics Honours, Diploma in Journalism from Asian College of Journalism. Years of Experience: 11 years of experience
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