Motorskill ABCs — Building Blocks for Healthy Development

24th August, 2011 - Posted by - 8 Comments

Mighty Jump

Ask any parent or educator what the building blocks of language development are and they will quickly reply, “Learning the ABCs, of course!”

Well, just like teaching children their ABCs, teaching fundamental motor skills is vitally important to proper development and later learning.

So, what are the ABCs of motor skill development?

  • Locomotor/traveling skills: including walking, running, skipping, galloping, sliding, and leaping
  • Non-locomotor skills: including stretching, bending, twisting, swaying, and turning
  • Manipulative/object control skills: including tossing, catching, throwing, and kicking

Think of it as helping the children in your world build a movement foundation. With the foundation in place, children will be able to master more advanced skills and enjoy things like dancing, sports, riding bicycles and more as they grow into adulthood.

All of these activities hinge on the fundamental movement skills — and the place to learn those is during early childhood.

The more opportunities we give children to practice these skills, the more successful and confident they will feel in using and moving their bodies — and enjoy doing so.

Need some ideas to help foster these skills? HSBS has lots off free downloads for use with children ages 0 -5.  Come play! 

Stay tuned — lots more information, tips and ideas for facilitating motor skill development is on the way!

Now, I am off to see if I can still rock a hula-hoop. – Bethe :-)

Bethe Almeras, MS, is the HSBS Euducation and Outreach Director. A long time educator and play advocate, she is passionate about outdoor play and connecting children with nature. In her free time Bethe writes a blog, The Grass Stain Guru, and can often be found playing outside and enjoying Mother Nature. She is particularly fond of  chatting with squirrels.

Creative Commons License photo credit: CarbonNYC

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August 24th, 2011 at 4:28 pm    

I think the key to anchoring these all together is to allow the child to learn these skills on their own. By that I don’t mean without parent involvement but without the parents trying to force the skills on the child. Free play is the ultimate skill development program.


August 24th, 2011 at 4:48 pm    

Free play is incredibly important, but at the same time scaffolding experiences and providing affordances to help facilitate development is also. Tummy time, play props, designing environments that provide rich opportunities for practicing skills (climbing, different surfaces, etc.) and incorporating opportunities throughout a child’s day are key — both inside and outside the home.

Hilda Vega

August 25th, 2011 at 11:46 am    

I would like to use the Head Start Body Start as a homework assignment for parents to use. They would initial the activity they did for the week. Does anyone know if this activity would count for inkind?


August 25th, 2011 at 10:54 pm    

Hilda: What do you mean by in-kind in this situation? Thanks

Hilda Vega

August 26th, 2011 at 2:23 am    

Each year, Head Start must match a portion of the federal grant that we operate from, as a part of the rules of the grant. This match may be made through gifts-in-kind and donations of time and services. E

In-Kind is another word for donations. In-Kind does not need to be money, it can be donated time, services and goods, as well as money. Head Start receives monetary credit for In-Kind time.
This is provided not only in term of monetary donations, but rather through services rendered which we call “In Kind.”
All classrooms have In-Kind forms on which to keep a record of donations of time, services and contributions. One of the areas where programs can acquire In-kind is by allowing parents to help their children with homework. I feel that a parent helping a child master the skill of skipping, riding a bike, walking and counting birds is just as valuable as asking a parent to ensure a child writes their name 3 times, write the ABC, or practice counting. I wanted to ensure that having parents work with their children in physical development activities would be ok to count as In-kind.


August 29th, 2011 at 3:49 pm    

I’m sorry, Hilda — that would be a question for Head Star, not us. I would ask your regional office to be on the safe side. Thanks!


September 12th, 2011 at 1:58 pm    

I agree that free play is very important to a child’s development. I feel that my part as a parent and now as a grandparent is to steer them in the right direction and with the right tools. Building blocks are a great toy that can be used inside as well as outside and lets a child’s imagination run wild.

[...] active play, young children learn the fundamental movement skills while also learning to enjoy moving their bodies. Focusing on active play versus screen time and [...]

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