Fine and Gross Motor Skills

As a continuation of our discussion on school readiness, so far we have discussed the building blocks of school readiness and why they are important. We have looked at how to determine if your child is lacking in school readiness and what you can do to assist in the development of school readiness skills. Today we will discuss the importance of developing your child’s fine and gross motor skills.

One aspect of vital importance to your child’s school readiness is their skill level in fine and gross motor development. Fine motorskills are distinct from gross motorskills which involve the development of larger muscle groups needed for movements such askicking, running and jumping. Fine motorskills are necessaryfor many aspects of children’s self-care –  for example, putting on shoes, feeding themselves and cleaning their own teeth.

Exactly what skills are involved in fine motor development?

Academic skills, including:

  • Pencil skills (scribbling, colouring, drawing, writing)
  • Scissor skills (cutting)


  • Construction skills using Lego, Duplo, puzzles, train tracks
  • Doll dressing and manipulation
  • IT use (e.g. mouse and stylus manipulation)

Self-care, including:

  • Dressing – tying shoelaces and doing up sandals, zips, buttons and belts
  • Eating – using cutlery, opening lunch boxes and food bags
  • Hygiene – cleaning teeth, brushing hair, toileting.

Fine motor skills are essential for performing everyday skills and academic skills as mentioned above. A lack of skills in these areas can impact on a child’s self-esteem, their academic performance and play options. Independent life skills, such as getting dressed and self-feeding, can have social implications within peer relationships.

What could be some examples of poor fine motor skills?

  • Avoidance of fiddly finger skills tasks
  • Avoidance of sit-down tasks
  • Interest in ‘passive’ activities that do not require fine motor skills
  • No interest in pencil or scissor skills
  • Asking others to draw a picture on their behalf
  • Asking parents to fix a problem without physically trying to fix it themselves
  • Waiting for parents to dress them or clean their teeth rather than trying themselves
  • Refusal to use a stylus with their iPad.

Other areas of focus that are directly linked to fine motor co-ordination are:

Manipulation – the ability to move and position objects within one hand without the help of the other hand.

Hand control and finger strength – the ability to manipulate objects or utensils such as scissors, that require independent finger strength.

Exactly what skills are involved in gross motor development?

  • Skills which require whole body movement
  • Engaging core stabilising muscles
  • Everyday movement such as standing, walking, running, jumping and sitting upright at a table
  • Hand/eye co-ordination skills – throwing, catching, kicking, swimming, bike-riding
  • Activities that promote balance and co-ordination
  • Activities that promote physical endurance.

Gross motor skills are required for everyday functions such as walking, running, skipping and playground play or sporting activities. These skills also impact on a child’s table-sitting posture and the activities they attempt whilst sitting at a desk, such as writing, cutting, pasting and their endurance level when attempting an academic task.

What could be some examples of poor gross motor skills?

  • Disinterest in physical tasks
  • Difficulty or fatigue during physical tasks
  • Instructing others to perform the physical task on their behalf.

What many don’t realise is that those children with poor gross motor skills will frequently have poor fine motor skills; they both go hand in hand. Allow opportunities for your child to participate in activities that support both fine and gross motor development in the early years before school and throughout their school life.

My next article will be about speech – articulation and fluency.


SMGS will also be hosting two events in Term 4 that are centred around school readiness. You are invited to:

Wednesday 23rdOctober – Kindergarten Information Evening.

Starting or considering kindergarten in 2020? Then come along to our Kindergarten Information Evening on Wednesday, 23rd October at 6:00 pm.

This evening is open to all enrolled SMGS Kindergarten 2020 families, families considering SMGS Kindergarten in 2020 and all those interested in our Kindergarten program within the community.

The evening will include a discussion on school readiness, an overview of Let’s Explore and what to expect in your child’s first term at school.

We hope to see you there!

Friday 25thOctober – Let’s Explore – SMGS’ Kindergarten orientation program.

Let’s Explore Kindergarten transition to school program  consists of  one session held over five Fridays. This allows your child to experience different components of a regular school day and explore all areas of school readiness in a hands-on interactive way. Children will engage in learning activities,  gross and fine motor practise and social interaction with peers. The focus will be on introducing children to our daily routine in order to familiarise them with our environment and the expectations of school life. We would like children to complete our program with increased confidence and be excited to start their school journey. 

Please register for further details, mark these dates on your calendar and register your attendance.

To learn more about Kindergarten at SMGS, click on the button to the right.

Learn more about Kindergarten at SMGS here!
Register for Kindergarten Information Evening here!
To learn more about Let’s Explore and to register, click here!