As parents, we all want our babies to check off tasks and accomplishments off their milestone charts. And these are everything from saying their first work to finally walking. There are four categories of childhood development: cognate, language, physical, and socio-emotional. While they all have an important role in the overall growth of your 1-year-old, motor skills are one that is worth highlighting.
When it comes to physical development, parents want their children to progress with their balance, hand-eye coordinator, and both fine motor and gross motor skills.
Fine motor skills are the ones that are important for being able to perform everyday tasks. This kind of motor skill includes the use of the small muscles of the hands. examples include using a pencil, scissors, and building things such as Legos. For this reason, these skills are crucial for excelling in early academics.
Other examples of fine motor skills including using utensils to eat, tying shoelaces, zipping clothes, brushing hair, and dressing dolls.
Gross motor skills are the skills that use all the muscle and are used for everyday functions as well as to be able to play and engage in sports activities. These include whole-body movements. Examples are sitting up in a chair, balancing, climbing, walking, running. It also includes sections like kicking a ball and throwing and catching a ball.
While all kids develop at their own speed, parents can encourage activities that help their little ones work on their motor skills. And this is even as young as 1-years-old.
Fine Motor Skills
1-year-olds can work on their fine motor skills through art. This includes the following ideas:
- Using sponges (to paint or just to play in the water!)
- Playing with play-dough
- Playing with kinetic sand (theme it and add in tiny treasure from the Dollar Store to make fun sensory boxes!)
- Color with crayons
- Allow baby to use a fork and spoon at mealtime (it will be a mess, but worth it for working on the skill!)
- Give baby finger foods and encourage self-feeding
- Let them help you turn the pages of a book at storytime.
Gross Motor Skills
Your 1-year-old has been working on their gross motor skills even as a newborn by doing things like tummy time. By the time a baby reaches the first birthday they are probably crawling. Here are some other ways to continue working on gross motor skills:
- Walkers, baby toy strollers, and other toys that allow re-walkers to hold on and practice walking
- Playing at the playground (have them run around, swing climb, jump, slide, etc!)
- Baby in-door trampoline (it helps work on balance and engages those leg muscles1)
- Pedal cars (this is a great way to introduce them to one day riding a bike)
- Baby obstacle courses (make sure to have them crawl through tunnels, jump over things, balance on a beam, climb up and down things, etc. Help guide them!)