Children entering kindergarten need to have mastered a set of fine and gross motor skills. Fine motor skills for kindergarten include being able to use scissors, controlling a writing implement, and showing a hand dominance preference. Mastering fine motor skills means a child will likely be able to learn to print letters and numbers and manipulate tools by hand. Essential motor skills for kindergarten also include broader physical abilities, like jumping, balancing, and throwing a ball. Every region and school is different, but most require that a child master basic fine and gross motor skills before being admitted to kindergarten.
Activities that strengthen the muscles of the hand and allow a child to build dexterity are ideal for building fine motor skills for kindergarten. Ideally, a child going into kindergarten will be able to print her own name, draw a picture with details like facial features or recognizable shapes, and cut out a simple shape with scissors. Coloring, playing with clay, drawing with a pencil, or painting with a brush all help a preschooler build up the muscles in her hands and wrists. Refining the fine motor skills for kindergarten doesn't have to be work; many fun games and craft activities double as suitable motor skill activities. Most preschoolers will naturally develop the motor skills for kindergarten simply by creating and playing.
Gross motor skills for kindergarten include the ability to run, climb, balance, and catch a ball. Most of these skills can be developed by normal outdoor play. Broad body movements that use up multiple muscle groups are required to master gross motor skills. Simple games and activities like throwing and catching a ball or climbing up a playground ladder will build the motor skills for kindergarten without feeling like hard work. Since gross motor skills are generally learned before fine ones, active play is an important part of preparing a child for kindergarten.
Every child develops at a different rate, and some will master motor skills before others. A child that excels at gross motor skills like balancing on one foot and climbing may need help mastering the finer points of using scissors. Kids that can competently write letters and numbers or draw detailed pictures may need to work on running and jumping skills. Developing the needed motor skills can and should be fun; most preschoolers will enjoy activities that are designed to build either type of motor skills for kindergarten.