Helping your child to develop their fine motor skills means helping them build hand and finger strength, as well as their coordination. These skills will enable your child to hold objects and in time, write and draw.
To learn more about fine motor skills and how you can help your child to practice them, here are some helpful tips from a nursery school in London.
Why are fine motor skills important?
Fine motor skills are essential for everyday activities. If these skills are not practiced at an early age, it can affect a child’s ability to write, use tools or perform personal care tasks, such as getting dressed.
What can parents do to help develop these skills?
Art & crafts
Art and craft activities are a fun and easy way to develop your child’s fine motor skills. Drawing using crayons, coloured pencils or chalk can help to strengthen your child’s hand-eye coordination and manual dexterity. Finger painting is a perfect fine motor skill activity for younger children and then you can go onto teaching them how to hold a paint brush and how to control it to make shapes and patterns.
Using modelling clay is another great technique for exercising fine motor skills. Encourage your child to squeeze, stretch and roll the clay with their hands. While children are busy playing with the clay, they are building up strength in the muscles in their fingers and hands. You could also ask your child to try and cut the clay with children’s scissors or cookie cutters.
Toys & games
There are lots of toys that can help to develop fine motor skills. For school-aged children, board games with pieces and parts to pick up and move are ideal for hand and eye coordination. Look out for a game called Operation. This game focuses on using the pincher grip (which is used in writing) to pick up small objects carefully without setting off the buzzer.