Thursday, March 14, 2013

Fine Motor Skills

As a preschool teacher, I deal daily with fine motor skills.  Fine motor skills are needed for writing, grasping small objects, and zipping up coats/buttoning up pants to name a few.  It seems more and more kids struggle with this and there a TON of fun ways that parents can help with developing fine motor skills from the beginning  I thought I'd share some ideas that I've done with my daughter or things I plan on doing to help others looking for ideas. Weakness in fine motor skills can affect eating, school, dressing, computer usage, and even reading!  Fine motor skills are super duper important.

Pasta Play! Put noodles/pasta whatever into a bowl, give them some spoons/measuring cups and let them go to town.  It does need to be supervised because they will want to put it in their mouth or they will learn the fun game of dump the pasta on the kitchen floor.  Sooo.. yeah watch it.  You can also talk about bigger, smaller, breaking into more pieces, counting the pasta noodles etc..

Puzzles!! Puzzles are great for lots of things, matching, learning animal/shape names but most importantly maneuvering all of those little pieces helps fine motor skills! We love Melissa & Doug puzzles!

Coloring and Stickers! However, I wouldn't recommend markers unless your kid is not dressed hahaha.  We love using different size crayons, jumbo or normal size.  Also, putting the crayons into and out of the crayon box is a great fine motor skill.  Stickers take patience too, peeling off and sticking them down. 

Tearing paper/opening presents Tearing is a super easy one that we do almost daily.  Also, you can sneak in magazine reading time while your kid works on fine motor skills.  As I flip through a magazine, I rip out a page for her and she tears it into smaller pieces.  We do this with old mail, wrapping paper, tissue paper, whatever.

Practice eating with utensils It is NEVER too young to start putting a spoon and or fork on your kids tray! I would advocate that you start doing it as soon as they are putting food into their mouth! And as someone who sees four year olds who have no idea how to use spoon or forks, trust me I do need to say this.  Please, let your child explore with a spoon or fork, they are smarter than you know.  Plus, this really helps with future pencil grip/holding on to pencils at school!

Looking at books! Not to mention all the literacy benefits (left - right correspondence, words, letters, memorization etc) turning those pages takes fine motor skills!

Sand/Water Play All that pouring/sifting, building is sooo good! And as your child gets older you can write their name or other letters in the sand, introduce bath paints into the bath tub and practice writing in there!

Other fun things..

- Playdough / silly putty (and you can make your own, it is super easy!)
- Scissors (PLEASE PRACTICE THIS! just supervise and I promise it won't be bad!!!)
- Beads (use a string and put beads on the string)
- Learn to dress dolls
- Blocks (all that putting together and taking apart)
- Finger paints
- Pencils, paint brushes, makers etc...
- Pegboards
- Fridge Magnets

and the list goes on and on and on!

Right now at 21.5 months my daughter's favorites are block playing, crayons, fridge magnets, stickers, feeding herself, pasta play, water play and playdough.

Seriously, fine motor skills are everywhere.  How do you think I typed this up? Thank you fine motor skills!

What are some fun ways you can think of to build up fine motor skills?

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