Friday, October 24, 2014

Activities to do at home to develop fine motor skills in preschool children

Fine Motor Skills:
Children going into kindergarten are expected to be able to do so much more now than in the past that requires good fine motor skills.  They are expected to be able to hold a pencil, write their name, first and last, have good scissor skills, etc.  

While we work on those skills here at Trinity, some children have weaker fine motor muscles, or possibly, just have not had additional experience with the materials needed to develop those muscles.

Make a game of the ideas below, don’t make it be work or seem like punishment:

Here are a few ideas for helping your child build their fine motor hand muscles.
  1. Scissors:  Children should use blunt tip, kids’ scissors to cut little snips of paper or cut out simple shapes.  Remember, thumbs point up to the ceiling.  Small paper is better as it is hard for children to manage moving a large piece of paper when learning scissor use.
  2. Tearing: Have your child rip up pieces of scrap paper, junk mail, etc.  They could then use glue to attach the pieces to paper.
  3. Pencils- For young children the jumbo pencils are good or put a pencil grip on a pencil to make it easier to manage.  At first you can have them just scribble, encourage them to press down some too.  Many children with weak fine motor muscles make barely legible pencil marks.
  4. Markers, Crayons, etc.  All good for developing those muscles.  Crayons, break them into pieces no longer than 2 inches so they need to pinch them to hold them.  Longer crayons rest on the hand and don’t require as much muscle work.
  5. Modeling clay:  This is similar to playdough, but more firm.  You can get it at Walmart, Hobby Lobby, Kmart, Meijers, etc. This works the hand muscles, and they can make fun creations.
  6. Playdough, This works too, it just is softer, so does not work hand muscles as well. We have a good recipe for home made playdough.
  7. Slant board  or easel: When the paper is flat on the table, the child does not have to work as hard to write or draw, if you are able to make the paper vertical or at least slanted, they need to hold the pencil, crayon, etc. more firmly to use it.
  8. Tweezers: Picking up small objects using tweezers or just picking up small objects with fingers is great for fine motor too.  We pick the corn off feed corn cobs as a way of doing this type of activity.
  9. Small water color size paint brushes.  You can use any kid of paint, water colors, or even water.  The idea is that the child holds the paint brush with a finger grip, not a whole hand hold.

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