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Discussion – Gross and Fine Motor Activities

Discussion – Gross and Fine Motor Activities

Discussion Topic

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There are many aspects of physical development, including both fine and gross motor skills, nutrition, and gender identity. Consider these aspect as you complete the discussion forum.

For your initial post, discuss the following:


1. Using the handout, describe a developmentally appropriate fine motor and gross motor activity for each age group, connecting each to a theorist and DAP guidelines.

2. Refer to the Lesson Content on gender identify and describe an activity/material for each age group that would prevent gender bias in the classroom.

Who Defines Gender?

Gender is everywhere! Men don’t wear skirts, women do. Boys play with guns and girls play with dolls. Baby shower gifts for girls are pink and ones for boys are blue. These are gender stereotypes in American culture. However, in Scotland, men wear “skirts” called kilts all the time. In Belgium, baby boys are dressed in pink and girls are dressed in blue.

It is clear that culture dictates much of how we see gender. Children often understand the idea of being a girl or a boy by the end of the first year of life. Between ages one and two, children notice physical differences between genders. By age three, they are able to clearly indicate if they are a boy or a girl. By age four, their gender identity is what we call “stable” and they know they will always be a girl or a boy.

Each culture has its own gender typing. It seems all cultures have a broad group of objects, activities, roles, and traits that are associated with one sex or the other. However, with the broad spectrum of cultures in America today, how do we know what those gender types are? And should we encourage them, try to reshape them, or remove gender from the ECE setting altogether?

Many of these ideas are passed down via popular culture in movies, music, advertisements aimed at a particular gender, and consumer products. Even our schools provide stereotyping for gender. For example, early childhood professionals who are male are uncommon and often experience negative bias and concern that they cannot be nurturing or appropriate with children. Gender stereotyping is everywhere.

Theories of Gender Identity

One of the first theorists to talk about gender was Kohlberg. He believed it was a learned cognitive behavior. Furthermore, he believed that children’s understanding of gender influenced their behavior. If we look at Vygotsky and his ideas, we would see that imitation and instruction are vital components to children’s development.

Adults promote gender role-modeling behaviors and pass along cultural meanings of gender development. Bandura believed that children learn from those they consider to be important in their lives. Teachers are important in children’s lives.

Gender in the Early Childhood Setting

What should gender education in the early childhood setting look like? How do you handle cultural differences? How can we change the dialogue and build a world where gender is less important than just being human? Gender roles start very early, as indicated previously; as early as 8-10 months old. Changing the dialogue has to start from the beginning.

According to Aina and Cameron (2011), “Teachers have tremendous influence on how children develop ideas of gender and gender significance. Traditional caregivers typically reinforced gender-stereotyped traits when they praised girls for their clothing, hairstyles, neatness, and helping behaviors, and in contrast praised boys for their strength, physical skill, size, and academic accomplishments” (p. 13).

Gender stereotypes and sexism limit children’s would-be growth and development.

To craft an environment to diminish gender stereotyping, early childhood education professionals should (Levitch & Gable, 2005):

· Observe their own behavior as professionals in various situations. Avoid making stereotypical inferences and attitudes.

· Recognize the abilities of all children without considering gender. Reassure children’s self-worth, regardless of the activities they select.

· Raise gender equality by encouraging boys and girls to do the same activities.

· Introduce children to models of people in non-traditional gender roles.

· Circumvent language that limits one gender or another from participating.

· Strive to balance the gender of the main characters in books when selecting books for the children.

· Provide education to families regarding gender stereotyping and how it limits development.

· Carefully examine ECE environments for the existence of toys that are marketed in ways that reassure single-gender and remove them or at least have conversations that encourage all children to play with those items.

Challenges to Promoting Gender Equality

Unfortunately, there will always be challenges to promoting gender equality or eliminating gender stereotypes.

Educators and administrators are the biggest hindrance to gender inequality in the early childhood setting. Educators are often their own worst enemies because they are not able to get beyond their own biases or gender stereotypes. Children have a way of seeing past facades and modeling the behavior that one thought he or she was masking. One example pertains to men in the early childhood field. Women in early childhood may not perceive that men in the field can be capable of properly caring for small children for various reasons.

The field itself often pushes back against men, and often the work of an early childhood education professional is seen as “women’s” work and devalued as being what women are required to do; therefore, men are often shunned if they want to go into that line of work. Society can be unforgiving at times.

One of the consequences of early childhood education being regarded as part of the women’s work is that, in many countries, most parental participation comes from mothers. The ideas, attentiveness, and support of fathers are often negligible. Without this connection, fathers are less able to encourage and support either their young sons or their daughters. If competing demands arise for family labor, time, or funds, fathers are less able to justify their children continuing in early childhood education.

To change the dialogue, it must start somewhere. The champions of the early childhood field need to be the ones to change it (Bittner & Cooney, 2003).

To gain further understanding of gender identity and how it develops, watch the following video. Information from this video will likely aid in this module’s assignments.

· Creating Gender Inclusive Schools


Aina, O. E. & Cameron, P. A. (2011). Why does gender matter? Counteracting stereotypes with young children. Dimensions of Early childhood, 39(3), 11-20. Retrieved from


Bittner, M. T. & Cooney, M. H. (2003, September/October). Male teachers and gender galance in early childhood programs. Child Care Information Exchange. Retrieved from

Levitch, A. & Gable, S. (2005). Reducing stereotyping in the preschool classroomRetrieved from


One month old – motor skills

· Does not control arm and leg movements since movements are still reflexive

· Needs support for head – without support, head will flop backward and forward

· Lifts head briefly from the surface in order to turn head from side to side when lying on tummy

· Twitches whole body when crying

· Keeps hands fisted or slightly open

· May hold object if placed in hand, but drops it quickly

· Follows moving object briefly if the object is within the line of vision

Two months old – motor skills

· Can keep head in mid position of body when lying on tummy

· Can hold head up for a few minutes

· Can turn head when lying on back

· Cycles arms and legs smoothly

· Movements are mainly reflexive, but may become voluntary

· Grasps objects in reflex movements, but grasps are becoming voluntary.

· May hold object longer, but drops object after a few minutes

· Uses improved vision to look at objects more closely and for a longer time

Three months old – motor skills

· Can move arms and legs together

· Turns head vigorously

· Can lift head for several minutes

· Can sit briefly with support

Four months old – motor skills

· On tummy, can lift head and chest from surface, using arms for support

· On tummy may roll from side to side

· Can maintain a sitting position for several minutes if given proper support

· Uses hands more skillfully

· Begins to use mitten grasp for grasping objects

· Swipes at objects gradually improving aim

Five months old – motor skills

· On back, can lift head and shoulders off surface

· Can roll from tummy to back

· When supported under arms, stands and moves body up and down, stamping feet alternately

· Helps when being pulled to a sitting position

· Can sit supported for 15 to 30 minutes with a firm back

· Reaches for objects such as a cradle gym with good coordination and aim.

· Begins to grasp objects with thumb and fingers

· Grabs objects with either hand

· Transfers objects from one hand to the other, dropping objects often

Six months old – motor skills

· Rolls from back to tummy

· On tummy moves by pushing with legs and reaching with arms

· Gets up on hands and knees in a crouching position, but may fall forward

· Is able to stand while supported

· May be able to sit for short periods of time

· Reaches with one arm and grasps object with hand, then transfer the object to the other hand, then reaches for another object

· Holds object in both hands

· Learns to drop an object at will

Seven months old – motor skills

· Crawls awkwardly, combining movements of tummy and knees

· Likes to bounce when in standing position

· May be able to pull self up to a standing position

· Can lean over and reach while in sitting position

· Has mastered grasping by using thumb in opposition to fingers

· Holds an object in each hand, brings objects together with banging noises

· Keeps object in hands most of the time

· Fingers, manipulates, and rattles objects repeatedly

Eight months old – motor skills

· Sits alone, steadily, for longer periods of time

· Crawls

· Achieves sitting position by pushing up with arms

· Learns pincer grip, using just the thumb and forefinger

· Is able to pick up small objects and put together, such as snap beads

Nine months old – motor skills

· Sits alone

· May try to crawl up stairs

· May be able to move along furniture, touching it for support

· Uses index finger to point, to lead, and to poke

· Waves bye-bye

Ten months old – motor skills

· Likes to walk holding on to adult’s hands

· Climbs up on chairs and other furniture

· Stands with little support

· Can release grasped object instead of dropping it.

Eleven months old – motor skills

· Stands alone

· Is able to stand and pick up objects

· Likes to grasp feeding utensils and cup

· May carry spoon to mouth in feeding attempt

· Takes off shoes and socks

Twelve months old – motor skills

· Climbs up and down stairs

· May show preference for one hand

· May be able to take off clothes

· Walks with one hand held

13-15 months old – motor skills

· Builds a tower consisting of 2 blocks

· Turns pages in a book 2 or 3 at a time

· Walks without assistance

· While walking, cannot maneuver around corners or stop suddenly

16-18 months old – motor skills

· Walks up steps

· Walks well while carrying a toy or pulling a pull toy

· Hurls a ball

19-22 months old – motor skills

· Draws with spontaneous scribbling

· Completes a 3 piece formboard (puzzle)

· Places 4 rings on post in random order

· Rolls, pounds, squeezes, and pulls clay

· Kicks backward and forward

22-24 months old – motor skills

· Attempts to stand on balance beam

· Builds tower of 6 blocks

· Runs without falling

· Pedals a tricycle

· Kicks a large ball

24-29 months old – gross motor skills

· Runs without falling

· Jumps in place

· Plays on swings, ladders, and other playground equipment with fair amount of ease

· Throws ball without falling

· Bends at waist to pick up object from floor

· Walks up and down stairs, both feet on step, while holding on to railings

· Stands with both feet on balance beam

24-29 months old – fine motor skills

· Inserts key into lock

· Turns pages in a book singly

· Strings large beads

· Copies a circle

· Copies a vertical line

· Copies a horizontal line

· Builds a tower consisting of 6 to 7 blocks

· Uses two or more cubes to make a train

· Uses one hand consistently for most activities

· Holds scissors correctly

· Opens and closes scissors

24-29 months old – fine motor skills

· Cooperates in dressing

· Removes shoes, socks, and pants

· Pulls on simple garments

· Unzips zipper

· Unsnaps snap

30-36 months old – gross motor skills

· Walks on tip toes

· Performs a standing broad jump 8 ½ inches

· Attempts to balance on one foot

· Walks to and picks up a large ball

· Balances on one foot for 5 seconds

· Catches a large ball with arms

· Walks up stairs with alternating feet

· Rides a tricycle easily

· Performs 1 to 3 hop with both feet together

30-36 months old – fine motor skills

· Builds a tower consisting of 8 blocks

· Copies an “H”, “V”

· Copies a circle

· Imitates building a three-block bridge

· Snips paper with scissors

37-48 months old – gross motor skills

· Walks heel-to-toe for four steps

· Balances on one foot for 8 seconds

· Catches a beanbag while standing

· Performs 1-3 hops on one foot

· Catches a bounced ball with hands

37-48 months old – fine motor skills

· Pours liquid from a pitcher

· Copies a cross

· Builds a tower of 9 to 10 blocks

· Completes simple puzzles

· Wiggles thumb

· Folds paper twice in imitation

· Draws a person with three parts

· Cuts a 5-inch piece of paper in two

· Traces a diamond

· Cuts along a 5-inch line within ½ inch of the line

Four years – gross motor skills

· Catches beanbag with hands

· Hops on one foot

· Walks down stairs with alternating feet

· Throws ball overhand

· Carries a cup of liquid without spilling

· Rides bicycle with training wheels

· Balances on one foot ten seconds

· Skips with alternating feet

· Walks backward toe-to-heel for four consecutive steps

Four years – fine motor skills

· Builds a three-block bridge from a model

· Completes a six to eight-piece puzzle

· Folds paper diagonally (three folds)

· Copies a square

Five years – gross motor skills

· Marches to music

· Jumps from table height

· Climbs fences

· Attempts to jump rope

· Attempts to roller skate

· Walks forward, backward, and sideways on balance beam

· Catches smaller ball with hands

Five years – fine motor skills

· Copies a triangle

· Prints first name

· Prints simple words

· Models objects with clay

Between 6 and 8 years old – gross motor skills

· Riding a two-wheeled bicycle (without training wheels by seven)

· Skilled with games like hopscotch and rope skipping/jumping

· Skilled with smaller-sized balls (can catch with one hand

· Running up and down stairs

· Team sports and games

· Aware of own body movements, and compares to friends

Between 6 and 8 years old – fine motor skills

· Holds and uses pens/pencils easily

· Uses fingers to control writing and drawing rather than whole arm movements

· Learns to writing within writing lines

· Gradually makes letters smaller, more well-spaced and well-lined

· Cut out irregular shapes, uses glue accurately, skilled using tape

· Independent dressing skills, including shoe laces

· Brushes/combs own hair

· Independent in self-care needs

Between 6 and 8 years old – general

· Experiences slower growth – about 2 ½ inches and eight pounds per year

· Grow longer legs relative to their total body height and begin resembling adults in proportion of legs to body

· Develop less fat and grow more muscle than in earlier years

· Increase in strength

· Lose baby teeth and adult teeth come in

· Prefer to socialize with own gender

· Stronger self-concept in terms of gender and body image.

Physical Development Action Words

Locomotion Activities – Walking, running, rolling, galloping, sliding, skipping, jumping, scooting.

Manipulation Activities – Throwing, catching, kicking, punting, striking, lifting, pushing, tugging, pinching, snapping, buttoning, zipping, snipping, cutting, tearing, pulling, pouring, sifting, grabbing.

Stability Activities – Swinging, swaying, twisting, turning, bending.

Sustained Activities – Walking, jogging, dancing, climbing, tricycle riding, obstacle courses.

Suggested Activities

A. Gross motor play structures

a. Climbing

b. Sliding

c. Upper body components

d. Play accessories and bridges

B. Tricycle paths – provide tricycles and other wheeled vehicles; rubber cones for obstacle course

C. Sand/Water Area – materials for scooping, pouring, sifting, dumping, filling.

D. Indoor/Outdoor Art

a. Easels with brushes of all types and sizes, rollers, chalk, crayons, water

b. Media tables such as wood working, science experiments

c. Display area

E. Planting and tending to gardens

F. Adventure Play – Dramatic play prop boxes, Scavenger Hunts, puppets, stages for performance (both puppets and role play with bodies), group games such as relay races or Duck, Duck, Goose, jump ropes, hula-hoops, Frisbees, balls, buckets, basketball, ring-toss, parachutes, flags, scarves, bubble-blowing, parades, marching, dancing

G. Swings

H. Balance activities

I. Mounds or Hills – inside or outside for rolling and climbing

J. Soft surfaces for infants and toddlers

K. Nature paths outside for walking

L. Running spaces – both inside (when possible and safe) and outside

M. Generous block area and materials, both inside and out – cars and trucks for rolling, various medium for building

N. Math and Science areas stocked with fine motor puzzles, manipulatives, take apart and put together activities.

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