At WiseGEEK, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.
Gross motor skills activities revolve around the broad actions that the general population is commonly capable of. They differ from fine motor skills in that they do not require the use of small muscles in intricate movements but rather include activities such as walking, standing up, and maintaining posture. These skills are generally developed throughout infancy and early childhood and remain with a person for the majority of his or her life.
The difference between gross motor skills and fine motor skills is basically large versus small. Gross motor skills activities usually utilize large muscles and muscle groups in achieving broad movements. Contrarily, fine motor skills require the use of small muscles to perform precise and demanding movements. Many fine motor activities depend largely on successful gross motor skills activities. For example, building a model airplane would not be possible without the broader ability to stabilize an arm or to remain balanced in a chair while doing so.
The ability to perform gross motor skills activities is developed at an early age. Posture and walking, for example, are actions that are generally learned during an infant's first year of life. Fine motor skills and gross motor skills activities are both dynamic, often changing as life progresses.
The first time a person plays basketball, picks up a guitar, or tries to kick a soccer ball, it probably does not go very well. This is because the brain learns through repetition, and moving in a repetitive manner drives the learning process. This is why most people get better at things with practice, and gross motor skills activities follow suit. As a person grows older, he or she probably walks more efficiently and may even learn more complex actions like running or dancing. All of these activities require gross motor movement.
There are a number of reasons why some people perform gross motor activities better than others. The most obvious factor is practice. An individual will not end up in a reputable orchestra without dedication to practice and repetition. There are also genetic factors that drive someone's ability to complete gross motor skills activities.
Some unfortunate individuals may be born with disabilities or structural deformities preventing a normal set of motor skills. Others may be fortunately born into an athletic predisposition and be able to blend fine and gross motor activities in the fluent manner necessary for amazing feats. Gross motor skills activities help people achieve the daily movements that are often taken for granted but ultimately necessary.