Motor skills are the ability to control the body's movements.
You've likely been in a constant state of amazement at the physical skills your little one has been learning since the day he was born. Now, as he prepares to start a new learning journey at school, help him fine-tune his ability to control his body's movements, known as his motor skills.
1Your child does a great job at grasping toys, but now her hands and wrists will need the strength and control to use a pencil. You can help her develop these muscles by getting her to model with play dough or clay, or even cookie dough; encourage her to squeeze it and roll it out. Fill squeeze bottles with colored water -- a watered-down nontoxic paint and bubble mixture works well -- and get your 4-year-old to squirt it out into a bowl or tray. She can experiment with different colors at the same time.
2You may find it hard to keep up with your preschooler sometimes as he races through life at top speed, but when you can get him to slow down, try some circus tricks to help him control those leg movements. Lay a scarf on the ground and have him do a tightrope walk. When he has mastered this, try again with a piece of string, encouraging him to walk heel-to-toe. Encourage him to be a circus elephant and balance on one leg with a beanbag on his head. Costumes can make these activities even more fun.
3Tell your child to lie on her tummy and stretch her arms and legs out, then encourage her to lift them off the ground and "fly like Superman" for as long as she can. Have a competition and see if she can fly for longer than you. This exercise will also strengthen her core (back and neck) muscles. Another good option that you probably remember with a smile from your childhood is the wheelbarrow game. It's more than just fun -- it's a great way of strengthening the arm muscles and developing control of the arms. Get her to put her hands on the ground, and then lift her legs up so she can walk along with her arms like a wheelbarrow as you steer.
4He may have mastered going forward, but can your preschooler walk backward? If you have a big enough space, with no dangerous obstacles, try having a backward race. Add to the fun by attaching cushions to your bottoms for when you land with a bump. For more whole-body fun, a big cardboard box can be turned into a giant jack-in-the-box toy with your child inside; he can leap out when you 'turn the handle.' Or tell your child to pretend to be different animals -- hopping, crawling, or slithering across the floor like a bunny, frog, dog and snake.