Fun ways to improve children’s fine motor skills
12 March, 2021
They will use them each and every day for the rest of their lives, so how can you provide your children with a good foundation for their fine motor skills early on? We’ve listed five of our favourite ideas.
Fine motor skills – i.e., the ability to perform movements using the small muscles in the hands and wrists – are essential for your children to master early on. Unlike gross motor skills which primarily help your children in the playground, the pool or on the sporting field, your children will call on their fine motor skills every single day in the classroom, as well as at home.
From writing and using scissors in their early years to typing on a keyboard or chopping in the kitchen later on, there are so many circumstances in which your child will use their fine motor skills throughout their life. As such, when it comes to providing them with opportunities to practice and perfect these skills, it’s a case of the earlier, the better.
Here are just a few fun ways you can give your children opportunities to practice their fine motor skills at home.
Cardboard roll letter match
This one combines our love for re-using unwanted household items, helping children learn their letters and improving our children’s fine motor skills, all in one fell swoop! Simply source a toilet paper roll and a sheet of blank stickers, then write letters all over the toilet paper roll. Then, write the same letters on the blank stickers and ask your child to match them up!
Button stacking game
All you need to do for this activity is raid your spare buttons box (or visit your local craft store), then source a wooden skewer or dry spaghetti and some play dough! Simply poke two (or three, or four…) skewers into a slab of play dough, then instruct your child to thread the buttons onto the skewers – it can be a counting activity, a colour sorting activity or simply an activity for fine motor practice.
Pom pom counting activity
It’s often the case that the simplest activities are the most effective, which is why we love this one so much. All you need are a few pom poms – cotton wool balls will also do – some cupcake liners, a marker and tongs or tweezers (though these are optional). Write a number on each cupcake liner and have your child put that many pom poms inside. It won’t just help them use their small hand and wrist muscles, but can aid them in learning to count, too!
Does your child have an abundance of animal (or car, or monster) toys that they rarely play with? This fine motor activity is a great way to put them to good use! All you need are some rubber bands and the aforementioned toys, which you will wrap with rubber bands. Then, let your child unwrap (or ‘rescue’) them at their own pace! It’s a great way for them to flex their hand muscles and improve their fine motor skills.
Clothespin busy bags
If you aren’t yet acquainted with the concept of a busy bag, this is it: a collection of things that will keep your toddler or pre-schooler busy whether you’re at home, on the road or out and about. In this busy bag, you’ll find a selection of fine motor-focused activities that touch on themes like maths, colour matching, weather and letters – all using pegs!
Read about some more fun skills to master before school!