Developing your child’s fine motor skills is a keystone in early development. Fine motor skills make up a large part of everyday life and are something you and I may take for granted. Toddlers and young children have to learn elements like manipulating their fingers, squeezing, gripping, threading, and countless other exercises.
As parents, you play a critical role in your child’s fine motor skill development. The most important thing you can do is to provide opportunities that are fun and interactive for your child. Developing fine motor skills in early childhood education helps build the foundation for important future skills like writing and self-care. In this article, we’ll walk you through the importance of fine motor skills and what you can do to help your child build them with easy and engaging exercises.
Importance of Fine Motor Skills
Fine motor skills refer to actions that use small muscles to control the hand, fingers, and thumb. These skills are integral to self-sufficiency and self-confidence, allowing your child to complete tasks on their own; building confidence and reinforcing their independence.
Starting early with fine motor skills is vital. The sooner children start, the sooner these skills become second nature. You will also need to assist in the beginning and be patient. Allowing children to learn and overcome difficult tasks by themselves breeds confidence and problem solving, and gives your little one a sense of accomplishment.
Here are some other key ways that fine motor skill development can help your child learn and grow.
- Master tasks like gripping, reaching, moving and manipulating objects
- Learn to use pens, pencils, crayons, and scissors safely
- Develop critical hand-eye coordination
- Develop legible handwriting and promote drawing and creative pursuits
- Lay the groundwork for independence so children can bathe, go to the bathroom, brush teeth, and practice other hygienic habits independently
6 Simple Activities to Develop Fine Motor Skills
1. Tactile Play
Tactile play is a great way to develop fine motor skills and entertain your little one. Dedicated tactile stations with play dough, sand, water, and other types of materials are easy to put together and provide hours of fun. You can also look for tactile toys which combine different fabrics and materials. These zones are also great for practising with buttons and zips to develop self-confidence in dressing.
Toys that require spatial understanding like puzzle boards, shape sorters, and stackers are another fun way to practice gripping and manipulating objects. Start by doing puzzles together so you can lend a helping hand. As your little one learns from you, they will develop independence and start to engage with toys for themselves. You can also introduce more difficult puzzles as your child learns and grows to help develop hand-eye coordination.
3. Creative Time
Encouraging creative time with your little is incredibly rewarding. Not only does drawing and painting teach your child to grip pens and brushes, but it also engages a different part of their brain allowing them to think creatively. Developing a love for imagination and allowing self-expression is great for building confidence and can even become a loving pastime for you and your child.
You can combine creative time with tactility too with different types of paints, pencils, charcoal, maybe even some finger painting.
4. Practice with safe Kitchen Utensils
Tongs, cookie cutters, rollers and other utensils are great for developing motor skills while baking or cooking with your child. Children are naturally curious so keeping them out of the kitchen is always a struggle. Instead, you can include them in the cooking process to aid development, independence, and a warm association with family time and cooking.
5. Cutting with Scissors
Practice with scissors is vital for personal development as well as educational development. Scissors require fine motor skills, concentration, and hand-eye coordination making them the perfect tool for development. You can plan fun projects like poster-making or collages. All you need to do is layout some arts and crafts and watch your child delight in creating their own art. You may even enjoy it yourself and find a hobby you can share with your child.
6. Brushing Teeth
This isn’t one you may have considered at first but brushing your teeth requires hand-eye coordination and fine motor control. It can be tricky to teach young children to brush their teeth independently but once they’ve got the knack your child will be able to practice good hygiene and develop their motor skills.
Stepping Stones Day Nursery is committed to helping your little one develop in a happy, safe and enjoyable environment. We look forward to seeing your little one learn and grow and would love to help you on this journey. To book a visit or get a free trial session contact us today. It’s never too early to start planning your child’s education.