Developing Motor Skills During Winter
Climate can affect the development of kids’ motor skills – kids in predominantly warm climates tend to get a head start on gross motor skills (such as running, climbing, sports and jumping), while kids in colder climates like the UK tend to be better at fine motor skills (more delicate things like handwriting, craft and tying shoelaces).
Naturally, this is because in the cold weather, fine motor skill activities dominate playtime due to the fact that they have to be suited to indoors – things like cutting out, drawing, colouring in and craft.
Where possible, parents should encourage a range of activities that encourage both fine and gross motor skills during the cold months. Introducing a range of activities will boost a child’s motor planning – their ability to organise, plan and execute new or unpracticed fine motor skills – and hand-eye co-ordination.
Gross motor skills
- Action-based songs and games improve co-ordination – musical statues, clapping games, musical chairs.
- Play hide and seek – it helps build spatial awareness and problem solving skills (plus it’s just great fun, even for the grown-ups).
- Find kids’ music DVDs such as The Wiggles, who use action based songs to engage kids with their music (but find a range for variety – listening to the same songs 10 times a day can be wearing!).
- Playing in the snow – wrap up warmly and get into a snow fight!
Fine Motor skills
- The string game Cat’s Cradle is great for encouraging problem solving and complicated, delicate work.
- Craft activities – anything involving cutting out, pasting and following instructions will encourage dexterity.
- Art – collages, painting, clay pottery, plaster making and painting.
- Finger-knitting, sewing and embroidery are brilliant for promoting dexterity and creativity.
- Make and decorate a snowperson (or a snow turtle, a snow cat, a snow hippo…)
Developing these skills is very important for all children, but especially for toddlers starting to walk, special needs kids or kids affected by dyspraxia. Paying attention to these skills early and not letting them fall by the wayside during winter months will help them develop evenly and become confident in their abilities as they grow.
Vivienne Egan writes for kids craft company Yellow Moon.
Image courtesy of Pair Of Red Winter Gloves by Phaitoon / FreeDigitalPhotos.net