Helping our children develop fine motor skills involves the coordination of their small muscle movements. These are abilities which usually take practice over time to flourish. It’s always fun to promote learning through play, so here are some activities that can help begin the process.
- Puzzles. These can be had inexpensively and for any level of development. I love the old wooden puzzles, but we have also played with foam, plastic, and cardboard puzzles.
- Blocks. We started with learning to stack very large blocks, then moved on to building with smaller blocks. In this category I would also include the large Mega Bloks, moving on to Legos as the child gets older.
- Beads. You can start with stringing large beads on yarn or string and, in lieu of beads, it’s always a treat to make necklaces by stringing cereal such as Fruit Loops or Cheerios.
- Playdough. Forming shapes, rolling out the dough, using cookie cutters to make different figures all help develop fine motor skills.
- Lacing cards. Threading brightly colored laces through small holes to make outlines of shapes is an excellent exercise to get little fingers moving.
- Paint. A fun beginner activity is having your child take a large paintbrush, dip it in a bucket of water, and “paint” the exterior of the house. Outside or inside, let them have a large paint brush and create free art on big sheets of paper; later on, move to actually painting in the lines of a picture in a paint book.
- Magna Doodles. What fun to be able to write whatever you want and immediately wipe it away and start over again. My girls still take their small magna-doodles in the car on trips and have fun playing games on them.
- Lite Brite. Putting the small pegs into the holes is yet another great method for practicing hand-eye coordination.
What other ideas do you have for promoting the development of fine motor skills?
This post was originally published on March 10, 2009.