Aug 12, 2022

Developing your child’s fine motor skills
— 7 Ways

In recent years, you may have seen lots of information about the importance of children’s fine motor skills and their mandatory development. If you’re wondering, “How can I improve my child’s fine motor skills?”, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll tell you everything you need to know to help your child grow up healthy, curious, broad-minded, and happy!

Importance of Fine Motor Skills

Fine motor skills are the ability of a person to make small, precise movements with fingers and hands. In general, types of motor skills include not only small but also gross motor skills. In all cases, coordinated movements occur thanks to three body systems:
  • Nervous
  • Skeletal
  • Muscular
Fine motor skills include primitive gestures, such as grasping objects, and very small movements, such as those that affect human handwriting. Motor skills development in early childhood is of great importance. Indeed, it’s directly related to the development of speech. Why? Our brain is arranged in such a way that each of its parts is responsible for certain body processes. And the regions responsible for motor skills and speech are located nearby and closely interact with each other.
Fine motor skills affect not only speech but also higher properties of consciousness, such as attention, mental process, coordination, imagination, observation, and visual and motor memory. Developing these skills is also vital since precise, coordinated movements of the hands and fingers will help your child perform a variety of household and educational activities in the future. Fine motor skills examples include dressing, holding a pencil, holding utensils and scooping food, drawing pictures and writing, tying shoelaces, turning locks and doorknobs, showering and brushing teeth, and opening lunch boxes.

How to Improve Your Baby’s Fine Motor Skills?

There are many entertaining ways to develop your baby’s fine motor skills. At the same time, these options are inexpensive and available to everyone. Keep in mind that all children have different evolving capacities, so you should choose tasks and exercises for motor skills by age and according to the individual characteristics of your sweetheart.
The main thing is to be patient. If you play with your child regularly, their fingers will gradually become more dexterous and nimble, and their movements more precise and coordinated. Don’t know what activities suit the development of fine motor skills? We have selected the most popular and effective exercises to increase finger mobility in children!

  1. Colouring books

Colourin allows your child to produce a beautiful picture with minimal effort. And this is a great way to keep the kid interested in fine arts. In addition, the colouring book teaches the child to navigate the sheet – to determine its centre, top, and bottom, and right and left sides. This will help preschoolers in learning not only drawing but also fine motor skills and writing.
In most colouring books, the main picture is placed in the centre. So the child intuitively begins to follow the same principle when creating their own drawings, which has a considerable psychotherapeutic effect. Psychologists often use this method when working with problem children – they invite them to draw large objects in the centre of the sheet. This allows kids to overcome self-doubt.
Moreover, when children colour pictures, they deal with different shades, remember them, and feel a lot of positive emotions. Therefore, you can invite your child to use both paints and pencils to help fine motor skills develop even faster.

2. Paper games

Games of this type involve two main actions: crumple and tear. Children who tear paper develop finger strength, ocular estimation, and motor coordination. So, this is a good activity for those who have trouble with fine motor skills. Invite a child to tear some sheets of paper you have prepared in advance, first arbitrarily and then along drawn lines or the shape of geometric figures. Paper crumpling is good for developing hand strength. You can use the resulting paper balls for some other activity or throw them from a distance into a waste basket (this fun game helps develop coordination and accuracy).
You can also teach your child how to cut paper. Fine motor skills using scissors develops palm muscles, finger dexterity, and coordination. It may be difficult for a child to move the scissors with one hand, so let them try it with both hands. But don’t forget about safety.

3. Lego building-block toys

This is one of the best options when wondering how to increase fine motor skills of your child. A Lego set consists of various interlocking bricks that allow the child to build different objects, including houses, cars, castles, and even Lego robotics. So, in addition to improving fine motor skills, the construction kit stimulates the development of modelling and designing skills. Lego also teaches spatial thinking and concentration, and significantly boosts creative imagination. It’s even better if your child builds with Lego blocks in the company of other kids. That way they acquire communication skills and learn to collaborate, negotiate, and interact with other people, which helps children find their place in society and establish social ties.

4. Non-traditional drawing techniques

Your child can create art masterpieces, not only with pencils or paints. There are other ways:
  • Hands (draw with fingers and make handprints)
  • Threads (dip threads in paint and draw on canvas)
  • Cotton buds (can be used instead of a brush)
  • Convex drawings (for example, put a blank sheet of paper on a coin and shade until the image appears)
  • Salt (sprinkle the finished drawing with plenty of salt, let it dry, and shake off the remnants – the salt will give the image an unusual texture, volume, and color)

5. Popping bubble wrap therapy

Bubble wrap is a well-known anti-stress material that helps to find peace of mind. Admit it, you were once carried away by this unpretentious activity. Indeed, there is something mesmerizing about popping bubbles. And kids love it too! There are wraps with bubbles of different sizes and colours, making the motor skills improvement process even more fun. You can also cut the wrap into squares, circles, rectangles, or even in the shape of different animals: bunnies, cats, dogs, and others.
If you have a lot of bubble wrap, invite your child to jump on them. Popping bubbles with your feet is incredibly exciting. Let the baby jump barefoot – this is one of the best activities for developing fine motor skills in the feet. Moreover, jumping is also an excellent way to improve the gross motor skills of your child, since this physical activity involves leg muscles and develops physical strength.

6. Plasticine games

The range of modelling materials is no longer limited to plasticine alone — there are different types of dough, polymer clay, wax plasticine, and even cold porcelain. You can use them all for fun fine motor skills activities with kids. For example, try not only to sculpt but also smear plasticine with your fingers on a piece of paper, cardboard, or any hard surface. Such a canvas is good for pressing small objects like beads, cereals, nuts, seeds, small shells, and pebbles, creating interesting plot pictures.

7. Toys for fine motor skills development

Nowadays, the variety of toys on the shelves of baby stores is amazing. Compared with the assortment of the 80s and 90s, we can assume that modern kids must have fantastic motor skills. Paradoxically, the opposite is true – most preschoolers (especially those who live in cities) are diagnosed with weak finger mobility. So, you should take a closer look at modern toys and choose what your child will like. For example, girls love puzzles and glove dolls. On the other hand, boys usually go crazy over the swat toy set. At the same time, take into account the age of your son or daughter, since children can swallow small parts of a set or a puzzle.

Want to improve your child’s motor skills and cultivate other essential skills?

Maker Camp offers special, inspiring programmes to develop problem-solving skills with innovative tools. Robotics inventing, engineering, and modelling not only enhance fine motor skills but also improve the mental process, creative imagination, and social skills your child will need in the future. Feel free to contact us if you’re interested in our programmes and want to learn more.
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