PLAY BASED MOTOR LEARNING
Children begin understanding their world by playing with the things around them. While it seems that an infant is merely flailing its arms, they are really learning to interact with their environment. When an infant is lying in a crib, they may “accidentally” hit an object hanging from a mobile. They watch it move and make noise. Through repetition and refinement of this deliberate movement, they become more successful at making the object move again and again. They begin to develop motor memory for that movement in the same way that pianists learn to play without sheet music. Their legs, feet, arms, hands, and fingers remember the movement to move the object or play the tune.
Likewise, learning to navigate an iPad also takes motor control. Through repetition, your muscles have learned how to command your arm, wrist and fingers to launch applications. The sensation that is received by the screen, pointed index finger or thumb, curled fingers, wrist on the surface of the tablet and amount of movement needed to swipe in one or more directions involves a feedback loop that goes from the finger to the brain. The brain then refines these movements to help navigate that movement more fluidly.
Play happens initially through trial and error until the motor skill becomes refined. Once this happens, the brain is free to focus on higher-level tasks such as language, comprehension and social interaction.