Fine motor skills
Did you know that your child's first fine motor skill started at birth with the grasp reflex! Early childhood is the most critical time to develop these muscles.
We hear the term 'fine motor skills' a fair bit as parents, but perhaps the importance of deliberately developing these skills is somewhat unknown or underestimated.
Like all mums, I’m always trying to find new activities to keep my two toddlers busy and entertained. Choosing a few activities each day that focus on fine motor is a great start to enhancing these skills. It can be as simple as helping peg the washing, playing with pasta or painting rocks.
Learning through play
As an Educator, I have seen the challenges children can face if they haven't had the opportunities, at an early age, to develop these skills. Not only can their academic ability be compromised because simple skills like holding a pencil, writing and cutting are delayed…. but their self esteem and confidence can also be affected. Without these skills children can easily fall behind their peers and often become embarrassed to complete their work. Fine motor efficiency is also significant for building independence, developing life skills & performing simple self care tasks like buttoning a shirt and brushing teeth.
You may find it interesting that it’s our boys who are more likely to suffer. Boys generally love all activities relating to ‘gross’ motor skills like racing around the backyard, kicking a ball, balancing on playground equipment, or simply climbing the furniture. So finding that window of opportunity each day to engage our boys in a fine motor task is particularly important.
Baby and toddler activities
The good news is that there are hundreds of EASY activities that are enjoyable and brilliant for strengthening those little muscles so important for fine motor development. These skills will advance over time in a consistent manner… so try to remain patient and encourage practise, practise, practise.
Keep it FUN. Learning through engaging PLAY BASED activities is the key!
Here are a few Finger Gym favourites in our house:
Threading: Pasta necklaces, beading, toilet rolls
Craft: Collage, drawing, colouring, painting, sticky tape & sticker art
Cutting: Anything.. from paper to leaves or boxes... (using the correct scissor grip)
Moulding: Playdough, kinetic sand, clay, cookie dough.
Spay bottles- $2 spray bottle with water... spray the garden, play with it in the bath. Kids just love it and it’s excellent for strengthening those important muscles
Tongs or chopsticks: Pick up or collect items (cotton balls, playdough pieces, lego, tissues)
Role Play: dressing up, zipping and buttoning.
Building and construction: Lego, blocks, Mobilo
Painting with cotton ear buds: A great activity for learning (tracing) their name
Strainer porcupine: Pushing pipe cleaners through a strainer
For convenient and toddler activities, check out our Kids Craft Boxes. A new theme every month. We ship worldwide! Check out our current craft box for creative and mess free kids activities.