What Are Manipulative Movement Skills?

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Manipulative movement skills are motor skills that use hands, feet or another body part to move or manipulate an object. Manipulative movements are either gross motor skills, like kicking a ball, or fine motor skills, like coloring with a crayon or picking up a small object.

Manipulative movement skills help children learn about their world, strengthen eye-hand coordination and improve dexterity. These skills also have a large impact on writing and artistic and athletic ability.

Manipulative movements begin with infants when they grip onto things, such as a finger. The skills progress with toddlers as they learn to play with blocks and toys. By the time a child is preschool age, his manipulative movements are strong and he becomes more self-sufficient. As manipulative movements progress, a child’s self-care improves, allowing him to dress himself and brush his hair and teeth.

Some children need assistance with developing manipulative movement skills. This can be accomplished by supplying the child with small toys that require hand control and manipulation. Things like puzzles and Play-Doh give children opportunities to increase these fine motor skills. In some cases, children may need to work with an occupational therapist or rehab facility to gain adequate manipulation skills.