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587 Route 22 East, Whitehouse Station, NJ

Parent Tips #1 – Tips for Fine Motor Skills

In the age of iPads and cell phones, children’s fine motor skills are not being developed to the extent they should be and there is research showing that this is beginning to effect children going into kindergarten. Here are some tips to help you to build your child’s fine motor skills.

A young child’s fine motor skills develop over time and in a fairly sequential way. The younger child will use their whole arm to perform fine motor tasks. Then fine motor skill development will progress to the use of the wrist and eventually to the hand and fingers. A young preschooler should be given lots of opportunities to perform tasks involving the whole arm with top down skills. Having your child paint on an easel and climb monkey bars can help to strengthen those whole arm muscles early on. As their skills progress, you will then want to provide opportunities for them to strengthen their wrists and hands with activities such as using large crayons or chalk to draw on paper or the sidewalk, turning door knobs, putting items in and out of larger items, turning on and off switches and throwing and tossing balls, beanbags and rings. Once you see them developing control over their use of their wrist and hand, then you will want to begin to strengthen their finger muscles. Here are some fun ways to build finger and fine motor muscles at home:

  • Make a necklace out of stringing popcorn
  • Make a mini clothesline where the children put pieces of material on with clothespins
  • Pick up little pony beads with a tweezer and put them in little containers
  • Finger paint with different materials such as shaving cream, jello mix, sand & water, paint, cocoa mix
  • Make a design on paper using a hole punch
  • Roll shapes or letters out of clay/play-dough
  • Draw letters into clay/play-dough
  • Play birds eating worms with little pieces of yarn as worms and clothespins as the beak of the bird
  • Play Pegboard games
  • String beads on yarn/shoelace
  • Toothpick punching onto paper that has a shape written on it with a sharpie-they follow the lines to punch it all the way around (you can put a carpet square underneath the paper
  • Play with Legos, Tinker Toys, Lincoln Logs, Unifix Cubes
  • Use an eye dropper to put drops of colored water in little suction cup bathtub shapes
  • Use clothes pins and attach them around the top of a box (you could add dots with letters or numbers to attach them to)
  • Use small marshmallows and toothpicks to form letters
  • Put nuts on and off real bolts
  • Put paper clips on little pieces of paper
  • Build shapes and letters from Wikki-Stix

Happy Muscle Building!
Mrs. Serra

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