Save to shopping list
Create a new shopping list

The difference between fine and gross motor skills

The difference between fine and gross motor skills

As a parent, you’re probably aware of a child’s motor skills - the actions that use their muscles. But did you know there are two types of motor skills: fine and gross motor skills?

So, what’s the difference between fine and gross motor skills and what activities can promote their development?

Gross motor skills – what are they?

Your baby’s gross motor skills involve moving large muscles, including the legs, arms, and the torso. Interestingly, they also lay the foundation for using our fine motor skills.

Whole body movements such as walking, crawling, and sitting upright are examples of gross motor skills. These abilities will form the basis of your child’s self-care skills, everyday functions, and day-to-day tasks.

Without gross motor development, your little one won’t be able to walk, dress, walk between classrooms, or even exercise.

As a result of gross motor movement, other crucial abilities, such as coordination, reactions, and balancing can develop simultaneously, helping your child to blossom into a fully functioning person.


Gross motor skill activities

Many gross motor activities encourage full-body movement and satisfy your child’s playful side.

Playgrounds with ball pits and soft play equipment (including bean rockers) will help your child develop their gross motor skills as they encourage running, crawling and jumping.

Rockers are fantastic additions to any playroom, aiding gross motor development whilst providing lots of excitement. Your little one must use their upper body strength to keep themselves upright and move the rocker rock to and fro.

Similarly, balance boards are just as great as they require your kid to use their gross motor skills to stay upright and move side to side. This activity also promotes balance and coordination – two essential abilities that support their growth.

Or, for babies, you can introduce gross motor development early by introducing tummy time on soft and soothing play mats. Lying on their front will encourage your little one to crawl and roll over by engaging their core strength.

To make it even more engaging, you could use pop-up tunnels to motivate them to crawl through.


What are fine motor skills?

Your child’s fine motor skills involve the use of small muscles in the hand, fingers, and wrists to perform everyday tasks, such as getting dressed. Academic skills also require fine motor abilities, such as holding pens and using scissors.

Holding pencils, fastening buttons, and playing with Lego are activities that use and develop your child’s fine motor abilities.

Frequent use of their hands will aid the growth of these skills, increasing how fast your child can perform actions such as tying shoelaces and writing.

If these abilities fail to mature, your little one may fall behind at school - affecting their self-esteem and slowing their transition into an independent person.


Fine motor skill activities

Encouraging your baby to use their fine motor skills is simple with stimulating activities and toys.

Walkers with activity tables are a good example of a toy used to exercise fine muscles as they contain smaller elements which need to be manipulated with fingers.

Ball pits are another entertaining way to encourage your young one’s fine motor skills.

Grabbing, throwing,  and rolling plastic balls activate the small muscles in their hands, wrists, and fingers.

Or you could promote their fine motor abilities and boost their creativity by providing crayons to write, colour, and draw with. Picking up, holding, and writing activates their fine muscles in a  simple and straightforward way.


Get in touch with KiddyMoon

Here at KiddyMoon, your child’s development sits at the heart of what we do. Our bespoke range of children’s toys is designed to promote hours of fun and aid their fine and gross motor skills.

To get in touch with our friendly team, please email us at, and they’ll respond as soon as possible.

Show more entries from June 2023