Motor Planning

Motor planning allows children to envision, arrange, and carry out a series of movements with a purposeful aim. Its significance is evident in the everyday activities children engage in, such as dressing, eating, and playing.

Below, you will find our motor planning play kits, designed to create an environment that nurtures cognitive thinking and fosters the development of specific motor skills necessary for children to grow and explore the world around them.

With these kits, we aim to empower children on their unique journey of growth and self-discovery, providing them with the tools they need to flourish.

Motor Skills Toys

Different Types of Motor Skills

Different types of motor skills encompass a spectrum of physical abilities crucial for daily life and developmental milestones. Both fine and gross motor skills play a pivotal role in children's growth, impacting their cognitive, emotional, and physical development. Understanding these skill categories is key to selecting toys and activities that foster a well-rounded skill set in children, setting the stage for lifelong success.

Fine Motor Skills

Fine motor skills involve intricate movements like grasping objects and manipulating small items, which are fundamental for tasks like writing. Small muscle movements, particularly those involving hands and fingers, are essential for lacing up shoes, drawing, and manipulating small objects.

These skills are essential for everyday activities, from buttoning a shirt to using utensils, holding a pencil, and even more advanced tasks like playing a musical instrument or typing on a keyboard. Developing fine motor skills is a critical aspect of a child's overall growth and lays the foundation for various cognitive and physical abilities.

In early childhood, as infants reach out to grasp objects or baby toys and explore their surroundings, they are refining their fine motor skills. As they progress, these skills become more refined and sophisticated, allowing them to carry out tasks that require precision and dexterity. For example, a toddler's ability to stack blocks or manipulate small objects helps improve their hand-eye coordination and finger strength.

During preschool and kindergarten years, fine motor skills continue to evolve. Activities like coloring, cutting paper with scissors, or stringing beads promote hand muscle strength and control. As these skills advance, children become more adept at tasks that require careful coordination, such as forming letters during handwriting and creating artwork.

Fine motor skill development is intertwined with cognitive growth. The ability to manipulate small objects, thread needles, or solve puzzles enhances problem-solving skills and spatial reasoning. 

Gross Motor Skills

Gross motor skills encompass the larger, whole-body movements that involve multiple muscle groups and contribute to a child's physical coordination, balance, and accessibility. These entail larger actions such as crawling, running, jumping, or riding a bicycle or scooter. From infancy to childhood, these skills play a pivotal role in a child's ability to navigate their environment, participate in sports, and engage in various physical activities.

During the infant stage, gross motor skills start to develop as babies learn to control their head movements, roll over, and eventually sit up unassisted. Throughout early childhood, preschool, and beyond, the refinement of gross motor skills continues to be essential. Activities like running, jumping, hopping, and skipping contribute to muscle strength, coordination, and cardiovascular fitness. 

Participating in team sports or outdoor games further hones gross motor skills while promoting social interaction and teamwork. This also plays a role in cognitive development. There is a strong connection between physical movement and cognitive function

Benefits of Motor Planning for Different Children

Fostering fine motor skills is about acquiring practical abilities and nurturing the foundation for a child's cognitive and physical capabilities. Providing them with opportunities to engage in activities that require precise hand movements helps build confidence, independence, and a well-rounded skill set that will serve them throughout their lives.

Fostering gross motor skills is vital for a child's overall physical development, cognitive growth, and social engagement. Encouraging them to participate in various physical activities promotes health and fitness and builds confidence, spatial awareness, and a strong foundation for their physical and cognitive abilities as they continue to grow.

All children, especially those with special needs or with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), benefit from intentional motor planning, which helps in body awareness. Motor planning is the ability to conceptualize, organize, and execute movements.

For typically developing children, honing motor planning skills enhances physical coordination, balance, and spatial awareness. In children with developmental delays or ASD, refining motor planning abilities can have transformative effects. By working on tasks that involve sequences of movements, such as following a routine or playing interactive games, these children improve their ability to process and execute tasks step by step. 

This can lead to increased independence, better self-regulation, and enhanced social engagement as they become more adept at participating in structured activities.

Motor Planning Toys: A Closer Look

Let’s check out some toys that can foster motor planning, enhancing and encouraging motor development. Lucky for you, most of these toys come in different varieties, so whether you have a four-year-old who is a dino fanatic or a toddler who is obsessed with glitter, there’s an option that will work for you.

Educational Toys & Learning Toys

Educational toys serve as dynamic tools that go beyond entertainment, nurturing cognitive thinking and propelling a child's holistic growth. These thoughtfully designed toys engage young minds through interactive experiences, fostering curiosity, problem-solving skills, and creativity. From puzzles that challenge spatial reasoning to STEM kits that ignite scientific exploration, these toys stimulate active learning, encouraging children to experiment, analyze, and draw connections. 

By sparking a love for discovery and intellectual engagement, these fine motor skills toys empower children to develop essential cognitive skills while laying the groundwork for lifelong learning and intellectual development.

Sensory Toys

Sensory toys, particularly pop it fidget toys, offer a dual advantage by providing tactile engagement and sensory stimulation, as well as contributing to enhanced motor planning skills, especially for children with specific sensory needs. The tactile feedback and manipulation involved in fidgeting activities bolster fine motor skills, while the repetitive motions inherent in using these toys can aid in developing motor planning abilities. 

For children with sensory sensitivities or conditions like autism, sensory tools provide a soothing outlet, assisting them in managing sensory overload and promoting a sense of focus and calm.

DIY Kits

DIY kits for motor planning are creative and engaging resources designed to help individuals, especially children, improve their ability to conceptualize, organize, and execute movements. These kits often contain materials and instructions for crafting projects that involve various motor planning challenges. By assembling components step by step, individuals enhance their motor planning skills, from the initial idea to the final execution. 

DIY kits can encompass a wide range of activities, such as building model airplanes, constructing origami creations, or assembling mechanical devices. The process encourages participants to think ahead, sequence actions, and visualize the end result while manipulating materials. These enjoyable kits foster cognitive growth, problem-solving abilities, and fine motor skills. 

They offer a unique blend of hands-on creativity and cognitive development, making them a valuable tool for individuals of all ages seeking to enhance their motor planning capabilities.

Montessori Method

The Montessori Method, renowned for its child-centered and experiential approach to education, naturally integrates well with motor planning development. The emphasis on hands-on, self-directed learning aligns with the principles of motor planning, encouraging children to conceptualize and execute movements with intention. Montessori environments are meticulously designed with materials that require precise and coordinated actions, such as manipulating small objects, pouring liquids, and arranging pieces in specific patterns. 

These activities refine fine and gross motor skills and promote motor planning by fostering the ability to visualize steps, sequence actions, and achieve desired outcomes. A Montessori environment offers a supportive setting for children to hone their motor planning abilities as they engage in purposeful tasks, nurturing both their cognitive development and their physical coordination in harmony.

Check out some of Big Heart Toys’ best sellers to help encourage motor development in your child — you may want to add a few items to your wish list. 


Fine Motor Skills During Early Childhood | PubMed

Physical Activity Boosts Brain Health | DNPAO | CDC

Importance of Sensory Stimulation for Babies | News Medical

What Is Montessori Education? | AMS