Happy New Year!! We hope you’ve had a wonderful time celebrating Christmas and New Year, whether it’s been super relaxed or super busy. We’ve been recharging our batteries and we’re ready with lots of new content for 2018.
Kicking off today with some ideas for helping to improve children’s ‘Fine Motor Skills’. So firstly let’s just define what Fine Motor Skills are:
“The term fine motor skills refers to movements your child makes using the small muscles in her hands and forearms. Fine motor skills let children perform crucial tasks like reaching and grasping, moving objects and using tools like crayons, pencils and scissors. As children get better at using their hands, their hand-eye coordination improves. They also learn skills they need to succeed in school, such as drawing and writing”. Definition taken from Understood.org, direct link here.
We should never under estimate the power of playing with play dough. I know I always find it rather therapeutic to play with but it’s great for children’s fine motor skills too! Rolling and pushing the play dough, as well as squeezing the dough, will help strengthen the muscles in the fingers, hands and arms. Why not ask them if they call roll little balls, or wiggly worms? Alp of this ‘playing‘ will help fine motor skills. If you need a quick and easy play dough recipe – check out our 5 minute play dough recipe here.
Cheerios and spaghetti
Here we take some cupboard ingredients to create a very simple activity to help hand eye coordination skills. Take a ball of play dough, some spaghetti and Cheerios, poke the spaghetti into the play dough and then encourage your little ones to feed the Cheerios onto the spaghetti ‘towers’. Can you and your little ones think of any ways to extend this activity?
Tweezers and pompoms
I found these interesting tweezers on Amazon and they gave us an afternoon of fun. We used them to pick up pompoms (excuse the Christmasy colours). The great thing about these sorts of activities is providing children with an Invitation to Play and then allowing them to independently explore the resources you’ve given them.
You may have threading games at home, for example the letter threading below. All of these types of games are of course are designed to help with children’s threading skills and therefore fine motor skills. You can find a whole host of threading games to buy online.
Threading pasta onto cord
If you don’t have any threading games at home you can easily make one by using pasta and a piece of cord/string. I dyed this fusilli pasta with food colouring and white vinegar, you can follow these instructions like I did. Just pop the pasta into zip lock bags, add the colouring and the vinegar and shake. However don’t be tempted to dry it off in the oven to speed things up, because that doesn’t go so well – the colours changed a lot and the vinegar stung my eyes when I opened the oven!
Give the pasta ‘beads’ to the children to thread onto their cords to create pasta necklaces – a nice craft as well as a fine motor skills activity.
Hama beads are such a classic activity for promoting fine motor skills. As I was creating this post I was thinking about what age group Hama beads would be suitable for. On googling this, I discovered that Hama make Mini beads that are 2.5mm in size, Midi beads which are 5mm in width and then maxi beads that are 10mm in width – these are perfect for preschool aged children. So the great thing here is that Hama beads are suitable for younger children than you might think.
Providing children with a tray of lentils. beans or pulses can provide hours of fun – but also help to improve fine motor skills. Providing cups, measuring spoons, jugs and funnels will encourage children to pour, measure and transfer the pulses from one place to another. This will help to improve children’s concentration and hand eye coordination. As well as encouraging them to hold their hand steady in order to transfer the pulses successfully.
What are your favourite activities that help to promote Fine Motor Skills?