You may take for granted the ease with which you are able to turn doorknobs or write your name or even brush your hair, but those fine motor skills (those intricate movements your fingers make to complete those tasks) took some time and a lot of practice to learn. Today I wanted to take some time to discuss some fun ways to help your child develop those skills. My son, Arthur, has recently started to have an interest in picking up small things and moving them (i.e. working on that fine motor development).
Yesterday, I took some time to make a fleece tie blanket, and in doing so I was able to create a fine motor activity for Arthur to do while I worked. As you may know one of the first steps in creating this type of blanket is to cut squares out of the corners of your large pieces of fleece. Typically these pieces are scraps, however I took these squares of fleece and the dishwasher basket we use to wash Arthur’s small cutlery or bottle pieces, and I made a fine motor activity for him that kept him busy for about as long as it took me to finish the blanket.
I started by modeling for Arthur how to use the fleece squares and the dishwasher basket. I opened the basket and put the fleece squares inside one at a time. Then I took the squares out of the basket, again doing so one square of fleece at a time.
Then it was Arthur’s turn. After I had showed him what to do, Arthur so lovingly pushed my hands out of the way and began to practice those fine motor skills on his own as he placed those fleece squares into and out of the basket over and over again until his heart was content.
If you are interested you could also substitute cotton balls, craft pompoms or anything small enough for your child to easily hold with one hand. If you don’t use a dishwasher basket, any small bowl or child safe dish or basket will work.
Arthur isn’t quite ready for this next activity, but it is an enjoyable one for pre-school age children. Learning Resources sells, Handy Scoopers, which help children to develop the same muscles in their hands and fingers that they will need for writing and using scissors. These Handy Scoopers can be used with water tables, sand tables, sensory bins and more. Provide your child with some Handy Scoopers, a water table and some smaller sized cubes of ice (small enough to fit inside the Handy Scoopers) as well as some small water friendly toys (bath toys work great). Model for your child how to use the Handy Scoopers to pick up and move the ice cubes, and then watch as your child plays and has fun all while developing those important fine motor skills.
Finally, I wanted to share this last activity. It is also one of my favorites.
It is likely the simplest way to help your child develop those fine motor skills. Drawing lines on paper and allowing them to practice using the scissors will develop those muscles in their hands and fingers that are essential to mastering writing skills later. As you can see in the photo above, I have drawn four lines on a piece of paper. Simply provide your child with scissors and ask them to cut along the lines. Some lines are straight and others are not, this will create an increased level of difficulty for your child to practice.
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