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The Importance of Manipulative Skills and Activities to Enhance Them

Manipulative Skills
Manipulative skills refer to motor skills involving an object. They are all about making certain movements to apply force in order to move objects. Common examples include throwing, catching, kicking, or striking. This Buzzle article has more to share on this topic.
Aakash Singh
Last Updated: Jun 3, 2018
Physical activities form an integral part of growing up. Manipulative skills, particularly, are those in which a person learns to handle objects with precision in accordance with speed and control. These skills mainly involve physical activities with the use of hand and body coordination to execute a task.
All body movements require us to make use of our muscles. Motor skills are divided into two types - fine and gross. Fine motor skills are a minor set of skills used to manipulate smaller objects, and require lesser energy. Examples of fine motor skills include drawing, sketching, cutting, etc. Gross motor skills are those which make use of comparatively bigger muscles in the body, and require high level of judgment and coordination. Some examples of gross motor skills are jumping, running, climbing, etc.
Importance of Developing Manipulative Skills

Training the body to perform physical movements is necessary for the all-round development of the child. More importantly, these activities must begin at a young age so that the child can reap the following benefits -
  • Healthy growth and development
  • Building strong muscles and bones
  • Development of basic motor skills
  • Improved sense of movement, balance, and coordination
  • Development of mental faculties
  • Improved social interactions, a heightened sense of confidence
  • Healthy weight and frame
Activities to Enhance Basic Manipulative Skills

There are certain activities that are quite useful when it comes to developing manipulative skills. They are listed as follows -

Throwing is an activity that engages the arms, hands, and the shoulders. In the initial stages, the child will have to learn how to expertly grip the object which needs to be thrown. Once she gets a good grip, she will learn to employ her elbow in order to throw the object, and use her hands to release it. With practice, she will learn to make use of her shoulder to exert more force, and eventually master the skill by making use of her upper body to swing into action before throwing with greater force.

Catching is another fun-filled activity which is enjoyed by children of all ages. It is instrumental in developing hand-eye coordination in children. To begin with, children will be clumsy while taking a catch, but they must be encouraged to pick the fallen ball and throw it back. Practice is the key here, so the training must be consistent. Besides balls, use a variety of objects during practice sessions, like balloons, ribbon strips, sponges, etc.

Kicking involves lower body movements, and begins by making use of the leg to move a stationary ball. Though the leg is the focal point in this activity, children must be taught to swing their arms, and steady their hips in order to maintain balance while kicking. Once these movements are mastered, running can be combined with kicking a ball along an obstacle course.

Striking (with a bat)
A bat is used to strike an object, so as to propel it into the air. Mastering this skill begins with securely gripping the handle of the bat, and exerting enough force to propel the object. Ideally, start with securing balloon to a string that has been tied to the ceiling. The bat used to strike should be light in weight, and held in the dominant hand. Striking is one of the toughest manipulative skill to master, so ensure that you give it adequate time and effort.

Role of Manipulative Skills in Physical Education

Manipulative skills are used efficiently in physical education to attain expertise in a particular activity. Here, learners perform basic manipulation skills in order to build endurance and flexibility, along with accuracy and relevant force. As a result, they develop physical fitness along with durability. Also, they manage to understand their body well, and gauge its tolerance level.
Manipulative skills, in simpler terms, is the ability to manipulate things or objects with the help of a combination of several body parts. These skills are honed with a great deal of practice over the years. If pursued regularly, these movements and exercises contribute to the overall health and well-being of the individual.