Objective. This systematic review synthesized current randomized controlled trials (RCTs) examining casual evidence regarding the effects of traditional and exergaming-based physical activity (PA) interventions on motor skill development in typically developed children (i.e., those aged 6-12 years). Methods. We adhered to the PRISMA-P statement and searched electronic databases (Medline, PsycInfo, Web of Science, PubMed, ERIC, Scopus, and SportDiscus) from inception through July 2020. We screened for peer reviewed RCTs published in English between 2000 and 2020 examining the effect of PA on motor skill development in healthy children. Results. A total of 25 RCTs were included, 20 (80%) of which reported significant improvements in children's motor skill performance. Specifically, 18 studies examined traditional PA interventions and 7 studies examined exergaming-based PA interventions, 83% and 71% of which observed statistically significant improvements in children's motor skill development, respectively. Conclusions. Findings support the causal evidence regarding the effects of PA on motor skill development in children. Notable limitations of this review included heterogeneity of measurement protocols and assessment tools used to test children's motor skills across studies, a wide range of PA intervention dose across studies, and the lack of power analyses and long-term follow-up assessments in individual studies to discern appropriate sample sizes and long-term effectiveness, respectively. To further strengthen the evidence in this emerging field, we advocate for future RCTs to employ a priori power analyses, long-term follow-up measurements, and more exergaming-based interventions to allow for comparisons with traditional PA interventions, to explore the dose response and moderating relationships between PA and motor skill development in childhood, and to utilize homogenous assessment instruments to allow for more rigorous, quantitative syntheses.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2020 Daniel J. McDonough et al.