Author: Austin Stanfel
Humans unintentionally use motor skills daily. Developing these in small children is extremely important. Motor skills are divided into two categories, namely fine motor skills and gross motor skills. The development of motor skills starts in newborns when they learn to sit, crawl, and walk independently. Fine motor skills are developed when they start using smaller muscles to grasp objects.
As children grow, so should their fine and gross motor skill abilities. An easy, unintentional way to develop these is through play. Whether your child is exposed to an indoor or outdoor playground, their skill development can benefit greatly.
How the Playground can Develop Motor Skills
Typical play involves walking, jumping, digging, and even quiet time form part of motor skill development. Although plenty of this is achieved without any unique toys or equipment, specific playground amenities provide advanced development opportunities. Listed below are some well-known playground elements that can be beneficial to your child’s motor skill development:
Swinging – Not only do swings help with balance and coordination, which influences gross motor skill development, but they also contribute to fine motor skills development. When a child pumps their legs to swing themselves, they develop necessary gross motor skills. Fine motor skills are developed by gripping the chains, allowing for hand, arm, and finger coordination.
Play Can Help Build Confidence
Monkey Bars – The motion used to swing from one bar to another strengthens a child’s upper body and encourages balance. Every muscle in their hand is also used to grip the bars, and the grip used for this (thumb under the bar) is the same natural grip used when children learn to write.
Motion Riders – Since equipment that works with motion involves movement, such as motion riders or see-saws, children develop balance, coordination, and sequencing. The need to grasp handles also develops motor skills.
Balance Beams – Balance beams and other challenging surfaces above ground level are excellent for motor skill development. Children strengthen their core when practicing their balance, and these types of surfaces also develop a response to directional and level changes.
Climbers – Climbing equipment such as ladders or climbing walls helps children develop in several ways. It builds balance, teaches them how to shift their weight, improves upper body strength when their hands and arms are used to pull them upwards, and develops stronger grips.
Slides – When a child’s body is in motion, their heads are placed in different positions, which develops their vestibular system. While sliding down, children experience different motions and have an opportunity to develop balance, coordination, and control.
With all the different playground equipment benefits, a playground is a perfect place for your child to develop their fine and gross motor skills. Developing these skills helps them prepare for everyday life and boost them when it’s time for them to start school and participate in sports. They’ll also gain valuable social skills by interacting with other children!