Teaching motor skills in babies and children can be difficult to do without the help of certain educational toys, because such items often hold youngsters' attention quite well. Motor skills toys tend to be age-appropriate, meaning a particular toy will suit a child's age and the type of motor skill the child needs to learn. For example, toys that teach infants gross motor skills often help encourage them to crawl, walk or throw. On the other hand, fine motor skills involve coordination, which can be taught with the help of activity centers and colorful toys that infants are tempted to grab. There also are more advanced motor skills toys for older children, with some of the most popular kinds being bicycles and puzzles, which help teach gross and fine motor skills, respectively.
Young children usually learn gross motor skills first, meaning they often learn to complete big movements that may include walking, jumping and throwing. These types of motor skills require children to possess strength and control of their posture, and certain motor skills toys can help them learn. Examples of popular infant items for this purpose include small cars or other rolling toys that encourage babies to reach or even crawl along as they move. As babies get older, they may be introduced to items that build their walking ability, with walker toys they can push along in front of them being a popular example. Common motor skills toys that teach children to throw may include a hot potato or ring toss game, or perhaps a ball that is large enough not to be a choking hazard.
Fine motor skills usually require control of the muscles and coordination between the brain and the body. This type of skill tends to be the most difficult to develop, but motor skills toys for babies can help infants get a good start, because most age-appropriate toys are rather simple and safe for them to use. Among the most popular types of fine motor skills toys for babies is a colorful ball that encourages them to grab the various teething rings, tags and various other attachments. Stacking blocks and puzzles with just a few large pieces also are popular toys for babies. Additionally, there are activity centers that feature several things to do at once, such as paper that crinkles, material that squeaks and rattles that make noise when babies shake them.
Older kids often need to work on their fine or gross motor skills, too, which is why there are educational toys that are appropriate for kids of every age. Examples of gross motor skills toys may include miniature trampolines, jump ropes and bicycles, all of which allow kids to build strength and balance as they grow. It also is important to build fine motor skills in children to encourage them to use both their brain and their hands at the same time. Common examples include puzzles, board games and activities that require children to match one item to another.