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Activities to develop fine motor skills

This blog will give you some ideas as to how you can develop fine motor skills in children.

So what exactly are fine motor skills?  These are the movements such as pinching or grasping that you make with your hands.  These types of movements are important for young children to practise as they are necessary for everyday skills such as: holding a pencil, doing up buttons, using utensils and loads more.

These fine motor skills need to be practised in everyday situations.  It can be tempting for parents who are short of time to finish doing up buttons, tying shoelaces etc. as it is faster, but it is important that children are given the time to do these skills by themselves.  However, if they are getting frustrated then by all means give tham a hand to start them off.  They can always finish pushing the button through and this way they will feel like they have done it by themselves.

Here are a few simple activities to help children develop their fine motor skills.

  1. Finger paint.  Children love to get messy and create their own pictures.  Instead of using a paintbrush get children to use just their fingers to paint pictures, letters or numbers.  I’m sure it won’t be long before they’ll want to get paint on their whole hand too.
  2. Threading pasta.  Anchor some spaghetti in playdough and use it as a base to thread on penne pasta.  Threading pasta onto long pieces of wool can make a necklace too.
  3. Playdough.  Playdough is great to get all the muscles in the hand moving and working.  Put on some music and then you can have a playdough disco.  Roll, squeeze and stretch the playdough.  Use both hands at once to make a pizza shape.  Encourage children to use all of their fingers when they are exploring.
  4. Tweezers.  Use tweezers to pick up and sort objects like beads, cereal, cotton balls, pom poms or even placing marbles on golf tees!  If your child gets adept at this you could even move onto trying chopsticks although this is something that adults find quite hard to master!
  5. Loose change.  Sort loose change into different containers with fingers.  This exercise will also help children with the concept of money and is good for number recognition too.
  6. Lego and blocks.  Connecting, stacking, building with lego or any kind of brick is great for fine motor skills as well as developing imaginative play.
  7. Padlocks and keys. Get a selection of different sized padlocks and keys and encourage children to find the right key for the padlock.  As you know padlocks can be quite fiddly to open and so provides a good fine motor skill activity.
  8. Pouring.  Place small objects such as beads or cereal in one container, then have children pour the objects into an identical empty container.  This activity will take a lot of patience and persistence to get it right without spilling everywhere.

I hope that these suggestions have given you some useful ideas.

Happy playing and learning.