Motor skills are combination of automatically skills (e.g. reflexes and balance) and consciously controlled processes (e.g. aiming and throwing, or jumping). It is very important to understand that movement, cognition and behaviour are all seamlessly connected and work together, along with all the senses that provide information about the environment. A simple activity such as catching a ball actually requires the integrated activity of all of the brain’s functional areas .
By 2 years, children are able to run and spin in circles, throw and kick balls, and pick up objects with their thumb and index finger. They are also able to perform quite detailed tasks, such as hold a crayon to draw, or make objects out of blocks.
By 3-4 years, children can walk up and down stairs but need help balancing; are able to climb; ride a scooter or tricycle and hop on one foot. They are able to make things out of paper (eg shapes), do jigsaw puzzles, and operate electrical devices like flat screens and phones.
By 5-6 years, they are able to balance on a line, jump over objects, jump rope and do a somersault or cartwheel. Some of the finer skills they can accomplish include doing a shoelace or a button when taught how, and to make art out of different types of materials.
This progression shows an increase in the complexity of the motor skills that children are able to perform, once they understand how. This directly related to their genetic programming, and being providing a positive, encouraging emotional environment and opportunities.