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Difference Between Gross and Fine Motor Skills

Gross vs Fine Motor Skills

A motor skill is necessary for an individual so he can make use of his skeletal muscles effectively in a goal-directed approach. However, motor skills will greatly vary on the proper functioning of the brain, joints, skeleton, and most especially, the nervous system. Often times, motor skills are learned throughout life but can be greatly affected with disabilities. There has to be an efficient motor development. There would be development in the movement and coordination of one’s limbs. Not only that, there would be development of strength, balance, and perceptive skills. Motor skills are subdivided into two kinds, namely, the gross motor skills and fine motor skills. The differences of both will be further discussed in this article.

By definition, gross motor skills are the skills learned and acquired when a person was still a baby up until early childhood which is part of an individual’s motor development. Once a child reaches the age of two, he will be able to stand up, walk, and run, and walk up the stairs. Such skills are developed throughout early childhood and will continue to be controlled throughout the years of development into adulthood. It is safe to say that gross movements come from a huge group of muscles and the entire body movement. Fine motor skills would pertain to the coordination of muscle movements in the body like the eyes, toes, fingers, and such. It allows one to write, grasp small objects, and fasten clothing. Fine motor skills would enhance one’s strength, fine motor control, and dexterity in the hands.

Both fine and gross motor skills can be assessed. You can take your child to a therapist so he can run your child’s specific gross motor tests. He will be using a Peabody Motor scale, most commonly known as a PDHS-2. Your child would have to stand up as instructed by the therapist. This is to assess her stationary position which requires her to take a 30-item test that would assess her locomotion as well. Babies can lift their heads up and gradually sit upright. Your child would then have to crawl, stand, and walk. This is the assessment of your child’s ability to move with any assistance like the rest of the norm for his/her age. All you have to do is to cooperate with your therapist as he assesses your child’s object manipulation. Also, he will check your child’s ability to throw, catch, and kick a ball. Lastly, he will be doing a visual motor perceptive ability test. Assessing a child’s fine motor skills are best checked when he is in school. You can ask him to pick up items and put them in containers. Items may be buttons, straws, marbles, and blocks. These items can be placed in mugs, jars, boxes, and cups. Tell your child to stack the blocks, and this will help you determine his fine motor capabilities. Next, check his twist manipulation. Ask him to open the different jars in front of him, and tell him to screw the lids back on. Lastly, ask your child to button his shirt or tie his shoelaces.

True enough, gross and fine motor skills are essential to the physical and mental development of a child. What you can do is to enhance these motor skills by incorporating activities into his life. Fine motor skills can be developed by giving him a paper and crayons. This will enhance the dexterity of his hands. Choose activities that can keep his hands busy. As for gross motor skills, you can allow your child to play outside with his ball. Another good activity would be to take him to the park and play on the playground just like the other children.


1. Motor skills are subdivided into gross motor skills and fine motor skills.
2. Gross motor skills are developed during the infancy stage while fine motor skills are developed during preschool age.
3. Gross motor skills can be assessed by the PDHS-2 while fine motor skills can be checked by putting items on a specific container and by twist manipulation.
4. Gross motor skills can be enhanced by allowing him to play with his ball or on the playground. Fine motor skills can be enhanced by keeping his hands busy.

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