Sensory Motor

Touchy Feely

Sensory motor experiences include activities that combine sight, touch, and hearing with fine and gross motor movements.


Charlie and his father are at the park playing a game of T-ball, which involves hitting a ball off a stationary tee. This is a good activity for Charlie to develop his sensory motor skills, because he has to see the ball while swinging the bat in order to make contact between the ball and the bat.


In the activity, Dad can point to the ball to direct Charlie about what to hit. Charlie would then know what to look at when it comes to swinging the bat and making contact with the ball. Practicing movements like these leads to mastery over time.

For your two year old to jump up and down on a square, he must see the square and use balance to land on the square. In order for your child to Velcro close his shoes, he must have adequate fine motor skills and be able to use the sense of touch to grab the Velcro and fasten it.

Your child is now seeing obstacles that might cause him to stumble ahead of time, whereas before he might just have tripped. He can now balance, jump, and walk and hold things at the same time. This is because he is now using his vision and attention skills to see what is in front of him and can adjust his movements and balance. Sensory motor skills heighten your child’s reflexes and responses because the child is using a combination of senses to be more aware of his environment.

Your child also uses his hearing to follow two- and three-step requests that may involve large muscle movements (“Walk to the trash can and throw away the paper.”). He will incorporate his listening and understanding skills to direct his attention to items being named and directions such as “stop” and “go.”

Sensory motor skills bring together your child’s cognitive skills through attention and reasoning when he uses his visual sense to make contact with items and move more gracefully throughout his environment. Sensory motor skills are part of his growing language skills as he understands and responds to directions. It is important to remember that sight, touch, and hearing must all work together to support development of your child’s gross motor skills.

As your child matures, so do his senses and ability to use his senses to improve his motor skills.