Systematic Review and Meta-Analyses: Motor Skill Interventions to Improve Fine Motor Development in Children Aged Birth to 6 Years

Karel F B Strooband, Marc de Rosnay, Anthony D Okely, Sanne L C Veldman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to systematically review the evidence of motor skill intervention programs on typically developing children's fine motor development aged birth to 6 years.

METHODS: Six electronic databases were searched with no date restrictions. Inclusion criteria were any school-, community-, or home-based intervention targeting the development of fine motor skills of children aged birth to 6 years; randomized controlled trials using quasiexperimental, experimental, or single group prepost designs with a minimum sample size of 15 participants per group; and statistical analyses of fine motor skill development at both preintervention and postintervention or addressing the intervention effects on fine motor skill development. Data were extracted on design, participants, intervention components, methodological quality, and efficacy.

RESULTS: Twenty-five of the total 31 studies reported positive intervention effects on fine motor skills. The meta-analyses included 19 studies and revealed moderate effect sizes of motor skill programs on fine motor, visual motor, and manual dexterity outcomes. There were substantial differences between intervention settings, facilitators, length, and content with most studies implemented in school settings and facilitated by teachers.

CONCLUSION: Fine motor skill development in the early years is an extensive upcoming field of interest for many international researchers. This review study presents evidence on the positive effects of intervention programs that aim to enhance fine motor skills for young children. The findings are promising but need to be interpreted with caution because of the high risk of bias in many of the studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)319-331
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics
Issue number4
Early online date22 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2020

Cite this