Building Motor Skills on the Playground

Updated: Nov 29, 2021


Most children enjoy exploring a playground and climbing around on the equipment. While kids engage in these activities, they receive beneficial physical exercise, which helps them stay healthy and strong. This type of physical play also helps develop important motor skills. Motor skills refer to physical abilities. Motor skills fall into two categories: gross and fine motor skills. These motor skills develop according to youngsters' ages and with ongoing opportunities for play.

Gross Motor Skills

Gross motor skills involve large body movements and the skills necessary to perform these movements. Examples of gross motor skills include walking, running, jumping, climbing, and skipping. Whenever large movements involve moving arms, legs, or the entire body, the movements fall into the category of gross motor skills. The majority of gross motor skills develop during the first few years of childhood as youngsters grow. Children generally require large amounts of energy to learn and practice gross motor skills.

Fine Motor Skills

Fine motor skills involve small body movements and the abilities necessary to perform them. Examples of fine motor skills include grasping small objects with the thumb and index finger, pushing buttons, turning the pages of a book, and using a pen or pencil to write. A child's central nervous system is an integral part of the development of fine motor skills. As the central nervous system matures, a youngster develops the ability to perform these small and delicate tasks as detailed messages move from the brain to tiny fingers. Little ones need patience to learn and master fine motor skills.

Common Playground Equipment

Playgrounds typically offer a variety of different types of equipment for children to use. Common objects include swings, slides, merry-go-rounds, see-saws, sandboxes, jungle gyms, climbing apparatuses, and obstacle courses. Some playgrounds offer alternative options for different