Fine motor skills govern small movements, like picking up a small item, using a spoon, etc.
Buttoning shirts, pulling zippers, picking up coins, shelling peas – all these things we do without really thinking about it, require fine motor skills. Most of the preschool education is spent in mastering fine motor skills like dealing with beads, crayons, and paints all leading up to being able to hold a pencil and starting to write. But many young children need help to improve their fine motor skills.
Here are five easy activities your child can do at home with things you already have to improve their fine motor skills:
- Putting coins in a piggy bank. Have your child pick up the coins with one hand and put it into the piggy bank. Once your child is doing this with ease, get a timer and see how many coins they can put in within 10 or 20 seconds to make the exercise fun and challenging.
- Fixing clothes’ clips onto cardboard. Have your child use just their index finger, or index finger, middle finger and thumb to open the clothes clip and fix it onto a piece of cardboard or string. Do at least 10 a day.
- Building clay models. Use chapatti dough or colourful play dough available in toy stores to make different shapes. Stick grains of rice or dal for eyes, twigs or toothpicks for arms, etc. Manipulating small items such as these can really improve fine motor skills.
- Building shapes with match sticks. Use matchsticks to make triangles, rectangles, houses, rockets, etc. Use buttons for wheels and build a bus.
- Making sticker pictures. Peeling stickers off the sheet and then affixing them in the right spot requires both concentration and fine motor skills.
It is really helpful to practice regularly. However, if you find your child getting frustrated, quickly put an end to the activity. In case, your child shows no improvement over a period of time and strongly dislikes activities that require fine motor skills, ask your paediatrician on what more can be done to help.
Fine motor skills are important, especially since children face some amount of writing in kindergarten, but remember that each child takes their own time to pick these things up. The best thing you can do is provide your child ample opportunities to practice these skills and exercise those little muscles.