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Activities for Developing Fine Motor Skills

Updated on August 7, 2012
Fine motor skills enable your baby to grasp your hand.
Fine motor skills enable your baby to grasp your hand. | Source

What are fine motor skills and why are they important?

Fine motor skills are the required abilities to coordinate the small muscles in the body to produce controlled and defined movement.This kind of controlled movement is a part of every day life, and developing fine motor skills is crucial to early childhood:

  • A new-born baby will learn to grasp objects and feel with his hands.
  • A growing toddler will learn to use a spoon and turn the pages of a book.
  • A preschooler gaining independence will learn to tie shoelaces and button clothes.

In addition to that, developing fine motor skills is one of the most important aspects for a child learning to write. It is also the most commonly overlooked aspect by parents.


Start by showing how to hold a pencil to ensure your child uses the correct end.
Start by showing how to hold a pencil to ensure your child uses the correct end. | Source

Fine Motor Skills Support Learning How To Write

Occasionally, some of us (put your hand up if this is you!) expect a child to automatically know how to write. Our method of teaching a child to write will follow a magical 2-step process:

  1. Show the child how to hold a pencil.
  2. Ask the child to apply pencil to paper until mark-making evolves into neatly defined writing.

Needless to say, the 2-step method is overly simplistic, but I've seen MANY parents who use this approach. Learning to write would be a lot less frustrating for their child if they would first set the proper foundations by helping their child to develop their fine motor skills. It's no fun writing when you don't even have the finger strength necessary to properly grip a pencil; try it and see!

Fortunately, developing fine motor skills in a fun way isn't very hard to do:

  • Scribbling and colouring sheets..."less fun".
  • Pegboards and stringing beads..."OK".
  • Activities below...fun AND engaging!


Gloop is actually my personal favourite messy play.
Gloop is actually my personal favourite messy play. | Source

Gloop Activities For Kids

How to Make Gloop

Materials

Cornflour

Water

Container (a small tray or bowl will do)


Activities for Developing Fine Motor Skills

1. Experiment with the gloop using hands.

2. Experiment with the gloop using tools and toys.

3. Tracing shapes and letters in the gloop with fingers.

4. Tracing shapes and letters in the gloop with a tool.


Variations

1. Change the appearance of the gloop by adding things like food colouring, child-friendly paint and glitter.

2. Allow the child to use various toys with the gloop, such as toys for sand and water play, dinosaurs and construction vehicles.


Closely watch kids who eye their sponges like cake!
Closely watch kids who eye their sponges like cake! | Source

Sponge Activities For Kids

Materials

Sponges

Water

Container (i.e. water tray, bucket, large bowl)


Activities for Developing Fine Motor Skills

1. Squeezing sponges (both dry and wet).

2. Using wet sponges to wipe a surface.

3. Stamping with sponges.


Variations

1. Change the appearance of the water by adding things like food colouring, child-friendly bubbles and glitter.

2. Use sponges of different sizes, colours and squishiness.


It's preferable to pick objects which don't freak out your child.
It's preferable to pick objects which don't freak out your child. | Source

Tweezers Activities For Kids

Materials

Tweezers

Small objects to pick up

Containers for objects


Activities for Developing Fine Motor Skills

1. Opening and closing the tweezers.

2. Picking up objects of various sizes.

3. Moving objects between various containers.

4. Pinching parts of the body lightly without hurting.


Variations

1. Instead of tweezers, use close pegs or tongs.

2. Using a palmer (fist) grip or pincer grip.


Thanks for Reading! I'd love to hear your thoughts, as well as what activities you use to help your child develop his fine motor skills.

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