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Play Activities to Encourage Motor Development in Child Care 

Motor skills are necessary during infant and preschool years as these skills help with development and coordination later in life. As they develop these skills, their confidence increases. Increased confidence helps them tackle other activities independantly like dressing, writing and speaking.      

There are many ways to encourage motor skills development in a daycare setting. Play is commonly seen as the number one choice amongst the early learning community. As referenced by Dr. Jeffrey Trawick-Smith, research shows that play is also an essential component in cognitive, language, social and physical development in young children. Dr. Trawick-Smith also notes that not only does play have “a positive impact on thinking and learning,” but it also “is an ideal context for learning how to form warm, trusting relationships with other people.”  

Gross motor development in infants is where it starts. We provide opportunities for your infants to swing their arms at objects. Soon after this, they develop fine motor skills in early childhood by reaching for toys and transferring items from one hand to another. Next, they start to grasp and squeeze items. As indicated by Terri Mauro, these skills, among others, occur throughout infancy and early childhood. 

Multiple play activities will encourage gross motor activities for preschoolers in child care.  Here are a few examples: 


A Hopscotch game is a great way to incorporate play and encourage motor development. It helps develop your children’s strength and balance. While maintaining balance, your children also change feet by hopping from one to the other. They will have to think about the multiple components involved in the game like throwing the item in the square, choosing which foot to use to jump in the correct square, and knowing whether to use one or two feet.  They also have to remember to pick up the item on the way back. You may have picked up that these processes also help your children with cognitive development. 


The common race is a fun way to help develop those motor skills and coordination. Another running activity is dodgeball using water balloons. Freeze-tag is yet another game to develop those motor skills in a fun way. Those who have to freeze are also using those balance skills to remain frozen. 

Throw and Catch

There are so many options for throw and catch games. The ring toss is a fun example where your children will develop some coordination along with those motor skills. They may like a simple game of throw and catch. However, more exciting is a throw and catch relay game. You children will incorporate throwing the ball to their partner. That partner will catch the ball to move forward in the line. 

Fine motor activities for preschoolers are just as important. The following are just a few examples of how your children will develop fine motor skills.

Fine motor activities for preschoolers are just as important. The following are just a few examples of how your children will develop fine motor skills.


Puzzles help develop fine motor skills. Early development of those fine motor skills builds the foundation for writing later on.  In addition to that, they will also strengthen their cognitive development at the same time along with developing persistence and analytical skills. 

Play Dough and Other Fine Motor Activities

Using playdough and beads is another way to develop fine motor skills. Your children will use plastic scissors and cookie cutters to create their projects. They will also use macaroni and beads to thread on string and yarn. These activities also build coordination and utilise their creativity. 

There are innumerable children’s gross motor skills activities to help them build these skills. They are learning skills to also help them develop academically and socially.  

If you want to learn more, call Kids Club Early Childhood Learning Centres or book a tour now of your closest Kids Club Early Learning Centre, click here to view your closest Centre.

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  1. Trawick-Smith, Dr. Jeffrey (date). The Physical Play and Motor Development of Young Children: A Review of Literature and Implications for Practice. Center for Early Childhood Education Eastern Connecticut State University 
  2. Maruro, Terri; Fine and Gross Motor Skills in Children. VeryWell Family.