Motor planning is a complex process described as the ability to conceptualize an idea, develop a plan of action, sequence and coordinate motor actions ultimately to execute the underlying plan. All components of this process are needed in order to interact effectively with the environment and to adapt to novel motor challenges. Efficient motor planning is evident when a child demonstrates the ability to perform goal directed behaviors, complete multiple step tasks, organize play themes, play with a variety of toys in different ways, imitate novel actions and movements, and adapt movements and responses to changing demands of the environment.
Motor planning difficulties are often referred to as motor dyspraxia. Sequencing steps to play independently and approaching a task with a plan can be difficult for a child with poor motor planning. Common behaviors displayed by children with motor dyspraxia are: being bossy and controlling when playing with peers or avoiding peer play; preferring to play alone, with adults, or much older/younger children; tendency to dump bins of toys; highly verbal-talkers instead of doers; clumsy; disorganized; difficulty completing art projects, multi-step games, and/or daily routines such as getting dressed, without adult support.