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What are motor skills and how to develop baby and toddlers' motor skills
This article will explain what motor skills mean and how we can help develop the motor skills of your babies and toddlers. We will also introduce some of the best selections of possible toys that could help you create a great environment to develop their motor skills as well.
Babies all start with nearly no ability to move themselves without help. From building their neck strength to hold up their head to starting to learn to crawl and walk, a lot of physical abilities need to be built up as they grow. One of the most important skills is motoring skills. We are not talking about babies learning to drive a car of course.
What are motor skills
A motor skill simply means the skill required by your baby and toddler to move their body muscles. There are many different body muscles your baby learn to use them slowly in their first 1-2 years. In the educational world, motor skills are usually divided into two types.
Gross Motor Skills
Gross motor skills involve moving the larger muscles in the little ones’ bodies. Some examples during their first-year milestones that involves gross motor skills include:
- Holding their head up
- Doing tummy time while holding their head up
- Sitting Up
- Pulling themselves up to stand with support
- Learning to walk
- Using their back muscle to control rocking and riding movement
Fine Motor Skills
Fine motor skills simply involve using the smaller muscles of our bodies, such as using our hands and fingers to do various tasks. Here are some examples of skills development that involves fine motor skills:
- Playing with rattles, holding small toys
- Using their fingers to type or play the keyboards
- Writing and Drawing
- Handling fine objects like stones, and sand
- Using their wrists to manoeuver handles and control coordination
How do we help develop babies and toddlers’ motor skills
First, please don’t underestimate the power of our babies’ own development. Our bodies are born to learn to move and manoeuver our bodies as we grow, just as many other animals in the world, it is innate in our genetics. However, as responsible parents, we all would like our children to grow and develop under the best circumstances and aides as possible, to even hope it will help speed up the development process.
There are some very simple things that we can do to help our babies and toddlers to develop their gross and fine motor skills.
Every day activities
It may not be for a newborn baby in their first six to nine-month, but we can certainly involve our little ones in our everyday tasks to promote their motor skills.
- Cleaning - simply give them a cloth to wipe about to imitate your while you are cleaning the house. This helps them handle smaller items as well as practice gross motor skills to move about their arms.
- Using everyday items - you don’t always have to use toys to let them practice handling items. Give them silicone cutlery or bowls and pass them back and forth with them, or use your remote control to ask them to pick it up and pass it to you etc. Small actions like this will help them develop their motor skills!
- Drawing and colouring - If you don’t have colouring pens, just give them a pencil and a big white sheet to doodle around particularly when they are really young. This will practise both fine and gross motor skills without spending a fortune!
- Utilising outdoor - Have a garden? Great! Just put them on the deck, on the grass, explore what is outside, look at the colourful plants etc. Go to the local park and short walks to learn things that are outside your house is important too.
Best Baby and toddlers’ Toys to develop motor skills
It is common that we want to have some toys so our babies are not touching too many other items that they will throw up on, or drool on, or catch any germs from either. Here are some suggestions of good toys and playing items to develop their motor skills.
Best Toys for Developing Gross Motor Skills
Rocking Horses and Animals
Baby and toddler rocking horses help build the GROSS MOTOR SKILL by training the use of their larger muscle groups particularly their upper body strength to keep them upright on the rocking toy.
Don’t underestimate the potential of a baby rocking animal developing their FINE MOTOR SKILL. Manipulating the handlebars, placing their body parts (like legs and arms) at the right place of the rocking horse all encourage the coordination between the hands, arms, legs and feet.
We have a full collection of rocking horses and animals for babies of 6 months, 9 months, and 1 year old plus to enjoy the benefits these rockers can provide them. If you want to learn more about what benefits rocking horses can bring to your little ones, please feel free to read our blog article here.
Push Along Walkers and Ride On Toys
Simply put, to play with a ride-on toy, your child will need to use their legs in order to have movement. This is just a simple on-wheel toy to make them exercise more when they don’t want to run about. When they continuously pedal the ride-on toys, the process will train their coordination skills between their legs, arms, and eyes in order to move the toy to the right place and to have fun!
They can just be helpful for your little ones to develop their fine motor skills, by manipulating the handlebars, controlling how much leg power to put on the ride-on toy to go further or shorter distance, fine-tuning their ability to turn the toy at corners etc. all encourage the coordination between the hands, arms, legs and feet.
We have a full collection of push along and ride on toys for 1-year-old plus to enjoy.. If you want to learn more about what benefits ride-on toys can bring to your little ones, please feel free to read our blog article here.
Why not check out our collection of Ride On and Baby Walkers here.
Best Toys to Develop Fine Motor Skills
Most toys that you can find in the market should be able to help your little ones to develop their fine motor skills, even simple baby books can practise their hands and finger muscles to handling holding and flipping the pages.
Our shop fully supports non-battery operating and sustainable toys. So we have a full collection of wooden toys and baby soft toys that can do just that to help your little ones develop their fine motor skills.
Wooden toys for early childhood
Sorting and Stacking Toys - these toys are particularly good to develop your little ones’ fine motor skills as they are manoeuvering their fingers, wrists, and hands to handle the items into the right shape holes, and onto the poles. Usually many of these toys are made for as little as 12 months old to 3 years old plus.
Check out our collection of sorting and stacking toys!
Push and Pull Along toys - smaller push and pull along toys can challenge both gross and fine motor skills of your little ones. Some pull along toys are multifunctional so it can be another toy such as a bead coaster. Check out our little collection of pull along toys now.
Building Blocks Toys - Similar to sorting and stacking toys, building blocks help babies and toddlers to use their muscles to figure out how to balance the blocks as they build them up without falling. We have a small collection of building block toys available for you to consider here!
Puzzles and Games - Many puzzles and game toys involve balancing games, fishing games, building games, story games, lacing games, pegging games, and puzzle games etc. Many are suitable for children for as young as 1 year old. They are perfect playmates to be creative during play while challenging their fine motor skills. Please feel free to check out our collection of puzzles and games.
We have established the concept of motor skills, which can be divided into gross and fine motor skills. And via everyday activities and items, as well as dedicated toys and play items, you can help create a learning environment to challenge and develop your little one’s motor skills as they grow. You can check out our suggested collection of toys above that could be perfect to be your baby’s playmate as well as motor skill developing tools!