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Sesame Street in Communities

The Big Idea: Through play, kids make big leaps in developing fine and gross motor skills.

Why Is Physical Play Important?

Learning Through Play Age 2 to 6 2-3 Min

Little ones are constantly developing their bodies in new ways, learning to jump, climb, skip, and hop—skills that build on one another. Developing gross-motor, or large-muscle, skills helps increase kids’ strength, coordination, and confidence. Here are some ways you can help:

  • Introduce a tricycle or pedaling toy.
  • Encourage kids to climb and swing at the playground.
  • Play catch or kick a ball.
  • Get kids involved in individual or group activities such as soccer, jump rope, or swimming.
  • Put on some music and dance!

Small-muscle, or fine-motor, skills are another big part of development. Hand-eye coordination lets kids draw, scribble, and write—all important skills for school. Consider these ways to build fine motor skills:

  • Do art projects that include drawing, cutting with safety scissors, and pasting.
  • Do puzzles that have pieces of different sizes.
  • Provide toys that allow for sorting or stacking.
  • Play with trains or cars that need to be pushed along a track.
  • Create objects by molding clay.
  • Give kids practice with buttons and snaps.