Children need plenty of opportunities to develop their fine motor skills before going to big school. One reason for this is so that they will not struggle when it comes time for them to learn to write. If the muscles in their little hands are weak they will find tasks such as holding scissors and pencils difficult. Another reason why children should have good fine motor skills is that it is important for their independence. They need to be able to do things like tie their shoelaces, button up their clothes, and open tricky lunchbox lids.
So What Are Fine Motor Skills?
Fine Motor skills are the ability to use the smaller muscles of the hands, fingers, and wrists in coordination with their eyes to manipulate objects and tools. Children need precision and coordination in order to master their fine motor skills. Therefore it is really important that they are exposed to many activities designed to develop fine motor skills.
7 Activities For Children
There are many simple fun activities that kids can do either at home or preschool which will help them develop their fine motor skills. Here are a few~
Manipulating, rolling, squeezing, and pinching playdough will give little hands a fantastic workout! I’ve got a fantastic recipe for super soft and long-lasting playdough here.
Threading activities are incredibly useful for developing fine motor skills in toddlers and preschoolers. It’s a good idea to start with larger chunkier beads and then work towards threading smaller beads. Threading beads onto pipe cleaners are also an excellent fine motor activity, especially for younger children. Items like straws and pasta are also great to use for threading.
We have these ‘Pop Beads’ at preschool. The children have to push hard to join them together, they are quite challenging. I know this because many times I end up having to pull them apart when its pack away time and they are not easy!!
Painting activities are fantastic for building fine motor skills. There’s good old finger painting where children give their fingers and hands a good workout. Painting with a paintbrush will help children to develop their pincer grip.
Stickers are a great fine motor activity because they can help strengthen hand-eye coordination and manual dexterity. Peeling stickers off a sheet can be a pretty tricky business. Placing the sticker onto a piece of paper also requires hand control.
5. Clothes Pegs
These are great for building up strength in children’s fingers. At preschool, we have quite a variety of activities with pegs such as peg dominos and counting peg games. We also encourage the children to hang up their own paintings onto the drying racks using pegs.
6. Tongs and Tweezers
Moving items from one place to another requires a lot of hand-eye coordination. The kids at preschool really like a simple water trough activity that we do. We fill a big water trough with some water and add some colorful plastic fish. The kids then need to use the tongs to take the fish out of the water. It’s like fishing using tongs.
We also use pompoms and large tweezers for the children to move between containers. This is another engaging activity that gives their hand muscles a good workout.
Using pipettes is a great and fun way for children to work on their pincer grip. We do a fun color mixing activity where the kids are given cups with primary-colored water paint. They then have to use the pipettes to transfer the paint onto paper towels.
An Important Thing to Remember
First of all, children need to get really involved in whole-body movements and use their gross motor skills so that they build up their big muscles. Then this will assist them to build up their small muscles for fine motor activities.