Published : Friday, February 2, 2018 | 2:25 PM
Your kids are learning and growing every day…and every moment can be a learning experience for them. When it comes to something as essential as developing fine motor skills, your child benefits from extending this skill at home.
For young children, fine motor skills can be learned by fastening clothing, using art materials, putting together a puzzle, and practicing handwriting, with long-term benefits.
Why is Developing Fine Motor Skills Important?
Fine motor skills are necessary as your child grows and becomes more self-sufficient – grasping and using utensils, buttoning and zipping clothes, making crafts, and writing by hand all fall under the umbrella of fine motor skills.
An early and firm grasp of fine motor skills will help as your child learns how to write clearly and legibly.
Children who write letters tend to produce more words and express more ideas than kids that only type on digital machines. The act of writing things down on paper helps the brain to focus better and think clearly.
How Can You Improve Your Child’s Fine Motor Skills at Home?
Finger dexterity is a foundation of handwriting and fine motor skills in general, and can easily be practiced at home. These activities will help your child develop these essential skills outside of the classroom:
Pincers and Tongs
Young children use their thumbs and forefingers together in a “pincer” motion. Little learners will enjoy placing clothespins around the edge of a box or hanging doll clothes on a low clothesline. Another activity is using small kitchen tongs to grasp and move pom poms or cotton balls from one container to another – make it a game by putting a time limit on the activity and keeping score.
Playdough allows children to use finger and hand muscles as they pat, pound, poke, and roll. Preschoolers enjoy working with this creative medium to finish a product and show it off. Plus you can extend the learning by making three dimensional shapes or letters in their name to help build finger dexterity.
Puzzles can help build eye/hand coordination and fine motor skills. The ability to coordinate what the eyes see, the mind wants to do, and what the hands can accomplish takes a lot of practice.
On a piece of cardstock, draw green lines (meaning GO) and a red dot (for STOP). Let the child use safety scissors to cut the first green line, stopping at the red dot. Then, move the scissors to the next green line and repeat.
Crayons and Art
Painting, water coloring, tracing, collage and tear art, and coloring all play an important role in building fine motor skills. Begin by giving your youngster a chubby crayon and paper and start by making strokes (straight lines, curved lines, and half circles). With practice, your child will proceed from scribble writing to printing letters and on to basic words.
How Stratford Schools Can Help
Your child’s fine motor skill development doesn’t need to end when they leave the house. At Stratford, we use a scaffolded approach with our young learners to boost their fine motor skills through a variety of activities.
Learn more about Stratford Schools’ approach to fine motor skills and handwriting by scheduling a school tour.