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Gross Motor Vs Fine Motor Skills

Motor skills are related to the movement and coordination of the muscles in our body. Fine motor skills often require the coordination of smaller muscles usually in the hand and fingers. Examples of fine motor skills are using our hands to pick up small objects, using utensils to eat, and typing on the computer. Gross motor skills are the coordination of larger muscles such as our legs, arms, and trunk. These larger movements include jumping, running, throwing, and kicking.

Gross motor skills require coordination, balance, and stability. Fine motor skills require precision, dexterity, and manipulation. Our ability to motor plan both gross motor and fine motor movements impacts our skills in daily tasks such as getting dressed, preparing meals, eating, taking a shower, and much more. Our ability to execute gross motor skills directly affects our fine motor tasks. For example, in order to complete a handwriting task we must have a good base of support and strong core to maintain our balance in our seat.

For children it is important to build both gross motor and fine motor skills to complete everyday tasks efficiently and confidently.

Below are examples of fine motor and gross motor activities for children to participate in that focus on building these important motor skills.

Fine motor activities

  • Stacking small blocks

  • Painting with a Q-tip or cotton ball

  • Placing puzzle pieces in various containers

  • Stringing small beads or noodles

  • Coloring or painting on a vertical surface

  • Hiding small items in play-dough

  • Placing coins in a slotted container

  • Geoboards

Gross motor activities

  • Balance beam

  • Stepping stones

  • Playing pass with a ball

  • Yoga poses

  • Animal walks

  • Hopscotch

  • Obstacle courses


If you have any questions about your child's fine motor and/or gross motor development reach out to an occupational therapist. You can book a call with me or email me at

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