Fine motor skills are something most adults take for granted and this is for a reason: they are a crucial and inseparable part of everyday functioning. This is probably the biggest reason why fine motor skill development is so important in childhood. There are several milestones that every child goes through, which include skills like handling utensils while eating, brushing teeth, and writing, to name a few. In this article, you will learn more about how to help your children boost their fine motor skills, while you keep them physically active and engaged.
Understanding fine motor skills
Whereas gross motor skills involve the coordination of arms, legs, and abdomen, fine motor skills focus on the movement and coordination of fingers, hands, wrists, feet, and toes. Children need to coordinate between the action and visual information they receive, and controlling the small muscles of the hands, wrists, and fingers is necessary.
One example of this is holding a spoon to eat – it involves grasping, holding the object in a specific way so that they don’t spill the food, pressing the thumb against the spoon, and rotating the wrist. While with exercise, this activity will seem automatic, kids might go through periods of trial and error until they fully master it. Other examples include tying knots, holding a pencil to write, coloring, painting, peeling, etc.
The development of fine motor skills is substantially important for children in kindergarten, preschool, and early school age. If you want to make this process easier and more entertaining for them, there are fun ways to keep them interested in further improvement.
Why is it important to stimulate fine motor skill development?
Most of these skills will be of utmost importance in everyday life. However, even more importantly, it is known that it can also benefit logical thinking, problem-solving, and other skills that can serve your children well in their academic and career life.
How to improve your kids’ fine motor skills?
While kids love being active and playing at kiddy gyms, they also like to be focused on an engaging activity that stimulates their curiosity. There is a myriad of fun games you can use at home to help your kid thrive and learn new fine motor skills.
Play dough sculpting
Playdough stimulates creativity but also helps kids use their palms, wrists, and tips of their fingers to create different shapes and figures. They will learn how to vary pressure and how to apply small sculpting tools to create different textures and details on their figurines.
Cutting with scissors
Knowing how to hold and use scissors properly to cut paper, textiles, or other materials is very important. It helps the coordination of the hand, arm, and elbow to cut in straight lines.
Drawing, painting, and coloring in
Starting with coloring books, kids learn how to get better at holding pencils, crayons, and other tools. They can vary the pressure on the paper, become better at following lines, and apply the right amount of paint if they are painting over their sketches.
Whether your kid is using Legos or another type of building blocks, this will also benefit their creativity and fine motor skills.
Using tweezers and kitchen tongs
Instead of encouraging them to use their bare hands, your kid might have an opportunity to learn this skill and pick up items with kitchen tongs and tweezers instead. This helps them coordinate the pressure they put on the utensil and the object they are trying to pick up or move.
Playing with sand and building amazing structures is something kids love to do. It’s also great for their psychological and fine motor development.
If you want your kid to utilize their memory, attention span, and fine motor skills, puzzles are an ideal option. Aside from traditional 2D puzzles of various difficulties, you can also opt for 3D puzzles to further challenge their curiosity.