Strengthening fine motor skills in children

Fine motor skills are skills that involve a refined use of the small muscles controlling the hand, fingers, and thumb. The development of these skills allows one to be able to complete tasks such as writing, drawing, and buttoning. Fine motor skills are the coordination of small muscle movements which occur for example in the fingers, usually in coordination with the eyes.

This article will help you with few pointers that will help you to strengthen the fine motor skills in children

You can show your child how to hold a pencil correctly. Activities that use the hand muscles can help build a child’s ability to grasp a pencil. For instance, molding and shaping clay/dough, stringing laces through lacing cards or beads, cutting with scissors, coloring with markers or crayons or colored pencils are all excellent opportunities to strengthen fine-motor skills.

Small Steps: The writing experience can be introduced very simply. For instance, print letters on unlined paper on an art easel or tabletop. Do not impose lined paper and a skinny pencil on your child at this point. Instead, provide unlined paper and thick pencils or crayons. You can help your child fine-tune the writing skills later on. For now, just work on large, easy, general introductions to writing. Again, use everyday occurrences to practice with your child.

Exploring Letters: If appropriate, encourage your child to learn how to form certain letters. Visual discrimination between letters and self-evaluation of letter writing are also involved. Gather unlined paper, thick pencil or crayon, and school glue, along with various craft items such as cotton balls, dry rice, flower seeds, tiny pebbles, lengths of yarn or fabric.

To begin the activity, neatly write the first letter of your child’s name (or whatever letter you are working on) to leave it as a model. Place the writing tool in front of your child. Allow him/her to select the hand with which to pick up the pencil. Take your child’s identified writing hand and run the index finger along the model letter in a writing motion. (Use the correct direction of strokes) Do it again and then encourage your child to do it alone. Print the letter in a different color and help your child trace over it. The child can then use his/her pencil to write the letter, with you being watchful and giving assistance if asked. Have your child write the letter many times and then run a line of glue over the written letters. Let your child use any favorite tactile craft items for decoration.

Working with ABCs: Locate a large cement area on which you can write with chalk. Clearly print the alphabet letters A–Z in random order in an area of the cement surface. (If there are other distracting chalk markings on the cement, place a circle around the letters.) Let your child select a stick of chalk and you can help locate “A” to get started. If needed, demonstrate how to search for “B” and then connect the two with a chalk line. Your child can continue until a “map” from A–Z has been made. Follow the map together and encourage your child to demonstrate the project to any other family members or friends to revisit the A–Z sequencing.

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