Types of Motor Skills and their Characteristics

Motor development in childhood allows us to coordinate complex movements, in this article you will learn about the types of motor skills and their characteristics.

Thanks to the locomotor system, human beings can perform a wide range of movements, ordered by the brain, that allows us to relate to the world and also explore it to get to know it better.

With motor skills, reference is made to the body’s ability to perform different movements and gestures, which may be of greater or lesser complexity and perform varied functions.

From throwing a ball, writing with a pen or simply running, these movements are within the concept of motor skills, however, they would fall into different categories of it.

We are going to find out what are the types of motor skills, their development throughout people’s lives and the movements that enter into each one.

Motor types

Basically, motor skills are divided into two types, thick and thin, depending on the types of muscle groups that are involved in the movement that is performed.

1. gross motor

With gross motor, reference is made to the motor abilities of a person in which large muscle groups are involved. The intervention of this type of muscles allows movements in which the whole body or a large part of a limb is activated, such as crawling, walking, jumping, climbing, cycling, swimming and many others.

This type of motor begins to develop at an early age, towards the first weeks of the baby’s life. Its development is continued although, in case of not being put into practice or of performing exercises whose objective is to improve this capacity, there is no loss of gross motor skills. However, the usual thing is that there will be a progressive development of these capacities throughout life, even in adulthood.

The direction in which the large muscle groups are perfected is done head to toe, that is, first you learn how to move the head and neck, then, you have more control over the trunk and, finally, you control legs and arms.

During the first years of life, the development of this type of motor skills is essential to acquire the ability to control posture, body balance and gait.

1.1. Postural control

Getting to develop enough capacity to control posture and balance are fundamental issues to be able to perform actions in which you are standing, such as walking or sitting.

When he has just been born, the baby is not able to control his posture voluntarily, nor to maintain his head in proper balance. That is why in the first weeks of life, it is recommended that the creature is lying.

After two months the baby has already acquired enough capacity to maintain a certain balance, being able to sit upright with the help of their caregivers.

When the first year of life is approaching, infants have acquired enough capacity to be able to sit on a chair by themselves.

1.2. Learn to walk

Related to the previous point, to be able to walk upright you must first have sufficient postural control to be able to stay upright.

In addition, it will require strength in the legs, which will have acquired after several months crawling and putting on top of them the weight of the trunk, with the help of the arms.

It is around the first year of life that babies manage to be able to walk, however, according to the research carried out in this field, it has been seen that the neural pathways are already possessed before birth.

One fact that would give strength to this is that if a two-month-old baby is placed in an upright position but being held by someone, the baby will alternate the legs as if he were walking.

Regardless of how innate this ability might be, it is very important for the baby to see others, both of his age and older, walk to develop this ability.

Rise and decline of gross capacities

Although the changes that occur during the first years of life are significant, gross skills also improve during the period between 7 and 12 years. In this age, who will soon be a teenager, improves his ability to run, dodge, jump rope and other activities related to the field of sport.

That is why it is quite noticeable to perform sports activities during adolescence, coinciding with the time when people notice a better skill in terms of their locomotive capacity is concerned.

However, as everything that goes up has to go down, after a few years, especially when the 30s approach, a decline in gross motor skills begins to occur. As a result, people over this age see their movements become slower and difficult to perform. To prevent this motor decline from occurring early and quickly, it is advisable to perform physical exercise at any age and frequently.

2. Fine motor

As for fine motor skills, unlike their counterparts, small muscle groups are involved, which are mostly found in the hands, especially in the wrists and fingers. This ability is remarkable in the human species, since it has a high control of the movements of the fingers, allowing you to grab objects, write, play the piano or make gestures.

Fine skills are developed throughout the life of the entire individual, being able to improve and learn new movements at virtually any age of the person, provided there are no physical injuries or brain level.

However, especially in childhood, there are significant changes in the development of these abilities, which are coupled with the improvement of certain skills promoted by the education system.

2.1. First months of life

The first fine movements that can be observed in a baby are reflexes, which are manifested already from the moment he was born. However, with the passing of a few weeks, many of these disappear.

At eight weeks, the baby is able to make some movements with the fingers, being able to catch, albeit in a ducky way, things.

Between two and five months the baby is already able to coordinate the look with the movement of his own hands, this being a decisive point in his ability to explore the outside world.

Read also: What Are The Multiple Intelligences? 8 Types of Intelligence

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Between seven and twelve months there is the most remarkable point of the baby’s fine motor skills, with an improvement in the ability to grasp objects, point with the index finger, pass objects from one hand to another and, very importantly, Make clamp by hand.

When the baby is already one year old, he has enough fine capacity to handle objects voluntarily and with greater security.

Thanks to this, you can take the objects you want and thus explore them to get to know them better, learning both physically and through stimuli. So, learn aspects such as size, weight and shape.

2.2. Preschool

This stage would include between two and five years of age. At these ages, the child is able to close and open the hand by making different combinations with the fingers.

Thus, the child can learn to use scissors, paint with pencils, button his shirt and pick up objects more accurately.

In addition, he learns about the environment in which they find themselves and the stimuli they receive from him, effectively coordinating his movements to explore him.

2.3. School stage

Between five and seven years fine motor skills are already remarkably developed, although it can always be improved. The arms and legs synchronize better.

It is in these ages that children learn to write and read. The first writing essays, although clumsy, are their demonstration, while reading is characterized by using your fingers to direct your gaze to the line you have to read.

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