What are motor skills?
Motor skills are the movements that we make, anything from writing or painting to throwing a ball or walking. When we talk about gross motor skills, we are usually talking about the more complex skills that include underlying skills of balance and coordination. These are the skills we see we often times see at the playground; like jumping, running, sliding, hopping, and climbing. Whereas, fine motor skills have to do with our fingers and this usually coordinates with our eyes (drawing, sewing, surgery, cutting with scissors, bow and arrow, fishing, etc).
When we evaluate a child at an older age, we would look to see how well the child is walking, jumping, running and catching a ball. We might look at how well the child uses his dominant arm and leg compared to the non-dominant arm and leg. Older children should have a clear preference for their right or left arm as well as a clear preference for their right or left leg.
Fine and gross motor skills are enhanced at all ages by encouraging your child to move. At a young age a therapist can help you determine how to support your child and encourage them to increased freedom of movement. At an older age, encouraging movement can not only be fun but it can be accomplished through games. Balance boards are a great device to introduce to children at any age to help with balance, coordination, fine and gross motor skills.