Fundamental Movement Skills

Fundamental Movement Skills

15 March 2023

Fundamental movement skills are important to the motor development of children’s physical, cognitive, and social growth. There are four categories in which the fundamental skills fit for under-fives: 

Stability and Balance - Stability skills relate to the body’s ability to gain or maintain balance, either when still or moving. Good balance is supported by having strong back and tummy muscles and is attained when the centre of gravity is over the base of support.

Manipulative - Manipulative skills are the skills we need for moving balls and objects around. We require manipulative skills in many areas of life e.g. hammering a nail, writing, cooking, etc.

Locomotor - Locomotor skills require moving from one location to another e.g. crawling, walking, running, jumping, skipping, etc. These skills are important because they provide the basis for how we move around in day-to-day life.

Movement and Body Awareness - Movement and body awareness is the understanding of "what my body is like and how I move with it." Body awareness/image is the knowledge of knowing not only what the names of the body parts are, but also what they are for. Children’s body image is learned through language and doing (experience).

There are a range of fun activities for children to practise fundamental movement skills, for example:

  • Obstacle courses with low balance beams and spaces to crawl under/over
  • Walking to a local park – explore natural surroundings or a playground
  • Ball games – use a variety of different sized balls
  • Family or dramatic play – with trolleys or toy strollers to push/pull
  • Music and movement
  • Games and stories with actions
  • Yoga for children

When thinking about games and activities, did you know there are 7 basic movements the human body can perform and all other exercises are merely variations of these: Pull, Push, Squat, Lunge, Hinge, Rotation and Gait. When performing all of these movements, you will be able to stimulate all of the major muscle groups in your body!

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