The term motor development refers to the development of a child’s muscles, bones and ability to move around and manipulate her environment. Motor development is broken down into two main categories, gross motor development and fine motor development.
Gross motor development refers to the development of the large muscles of the body. Gross motor skills refers to movements involving the large muscles, like those in the arms or legs, and are required for doing things like walking or jumping.
Fine motor development refers to the development of the small muscles in the body. Fine more skills refer to movements involving the small muscles, like those in your hands and fingers and required for doing things like holding a crayon and coloring.
Motor development also encompasses muscle strength and tone, or how well the muscles work. Children have to have balanced development so that they can easily do things like stand, sit and run.
As children develop their motor skills, they also develop coordination. During the last few months of the first year, an infant’s grasp changes from a palmar, whole hand grasp, to a pincer or finger grasp. This allows older infants to point, put their fingers into openings and push buttons on toys and real objects such as telephones and television and computer equipment.
As children get older they may have better developed gross or fine motor skills depending on their interests, coaching, drive and ability.
It’s important to remember that how well a child’s motor skills are developed can influence how they experience their world. A child is better able to successfully explore his environment if he is able to move with ease.