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Motor Planning

What is it?

The ability to create an idea of what you want to do, plan how you are going to do it and then carry out the activity.


When we learned to wash our hands as young children, someone showed us how to do it. Eventually though, our brain had to figure out how our body would physically do what we’d been shown.

We also had to think about the order of all of these steps. In the beginning, it was very hard. We had to do things very slowly. We had to constantly adjust what we were doing—scrub for longer or get closer to the sink. We paid a lot of attention to the process. And with corrections and help, we eventually were able to do it on our own.

Two things change dramatically once we really know how to wash our hands. We move much faster and are much more precise. We don’t need to pay as much attention to our actions. They’ve become automatic. Our planning for the whole task is quick and efficient. And if we need to make corrections, we can do it easily.

How you can help: For motor planning to occur, a child must be encouraged to THINK about what he/she is doing.

For example: Say to the child “How are you going to get the toy that is underneath the bed?

An adult on a chair talking to children sitting on chairs