Fine motor skills require the use of the small muscles in your child’s hands and arms to do everyday tasks, such as dressing, playing, eating, various self-care tasks and certain school tasks such as pencil control, cutting with scissors and writing.
There are a number of fun and inexpensive ways to help your child develop and build on his/her fine motor skills.
- Play dough.
You can buy play dough or make your own. Encourage your child to squeeze and stretch and shape and roll and pound the play dough to strengthen their hand muscles.
- Finger paints
Messy play is highly recommended. All you need is an easel, some finger paint, some thick paper and a space for your child to get messy.
- Pincer grasp development:
These are activities that encourage the use of the thumb and forefinger. Develop your child’s pincer grasp with activities like picking up small items (individually) like beans or coins. Also encourage them to play with toys that use dials, switches and knobs.
A lovely fun activity is one where they could squeeze the water out of wet sponges or wash cloths. You could also use let them squeeze water out of bath toys or play with a medicine dropper.
- Drawing, cutting and colouring:
Draw and cut out paper dolls or any characters that interest your child. Then allow your child to decorate and colour them in.
- Tearing and pasting
Tear paper into strips and then into small squares. Then paste the pieces onto a page and create an interesting collage.
- Kitchen activities:
Let your child peel their own fruit like bananas and oranges. Allow them to help you to mash potatoes, knead dough for bread or pizza or roll out dough with a rolling pin for biscuits. Also allow them to use a fork and knife at every meal and be patient with them. They do eventually figure it out on get to grips with it.
Let your child guide you and lead the way, and don’t be alarmed if the fine motor skill development progresses slower than you would like. These skills are usually learned over a period of time with a lot of practice.