DEFINITION OF FINE MOTOR SKILLS
You probably don’t think about your fine motor skills often, but you use them almost every minute of the day. If you poured yourself a bowl of cereal this morning, consider all these mini tasks: you opened the cereal box, poured the cereal into the bowl, unscrewed the milk jug lid, poured the milk into the bowl, and screwed the lid back onto the milk jug. You were able to do all those tasks because you have fine motor skills. Your 3-year-old, on the other hand, would struggle with those tasks because they haven’t yet developed the muscle strength in their hands.
FINE MOTOR SKILL ACTIVITIES
By age 3, children are typically not putting objects into their mouths as often. 3-year-olds can draw shapes and figures that resemble something they are familiar with. Practicing using scissors with adult supervision is also a great activity to introduce with a 3-year-old. As those fine motor skills refine, writing will be easier for your 3-year-old as they get older and approach kindergarten age.
3-YEAR-OLD FINE MOTOR SKILLS MILESTONES
- Threading medium size beads
- Manipulate scissors with some help
- Attempt to manipulate zippers and buttons on clothing
- Dressing themselves with minimal help
- Confidently drawing/coloring with crayons/markers
DEFINITION OF GROSS MOTOR SKILLS
Remember that bowl of cereal you made earlier this morning? Consider these tasks: opening the fridge, carrying a heavy jug of milk to the table, lifting the milk jug and pouring it into the bowl… these all required larger muscles in your arm to do them. Any task requiring the large muscles of your body (arms, legs, trunk) are gross motor skills.
3-YEAR-OLD GROSS MOTOR SKILLS MILESTONES
- Hopping on one foot for a few seconds
- Throwing a ball both underhand and overhand
- Independently get on and off a tricycle and attempt to pedal
GROSS MOTOR ACTIVITIES
To strengthen your preschooler’s gross motor skills, you can take your preschooler to a bowling alley. They will have a fun time carrying a heavy bowling ball, balancing it as they walk, and pushing it down the lane. You can play games with them at your house or school of Duck, Duck, Goose.