5 Ways You Can Begin Teaching Fine Motor Skills at Home
As adults, it might not seem difficult to write with a pen, use kitchen tools, brush your teeth, or button your shirt. But those skills had to be learned. Early in your life, you learned to focus on these movements and build up your muscles and ligaments. While today, they are second nature, they can be difficult tasks for a baby or young toddler and they’re things they need to practice. If you’re already thinking about ways you can begin teaching fine motor skills at home for your child, that’s great! Keep reading for 5 fun ways to make that happen.
The Importance of Fine Motor Skills
Development of fine motor skills is important for everyday tasks like the ones listed above. They are defined as having the ability to accomplish functional tasks. Occupational therapists say these skills require strength, dexterity, and coordination. That’s where practice comes in. Toddlers need strength to perform tasks like squeezing toothpaste, grasping and holding on to silverware, and even being able to build Legos. Meanwhile, they need precision to button shirts, put on jewelry, or even write properly. These are tasks you use your entire life. Naturally, they are incredibly important. And encouraging your child to play will help build the foundation for what’s to come.
Give Your Child Play-dough
Play-dough has numerous applications for building strength in your child’s hands. Encourage your child to squeeze, roll, squish, and poke the dough to challenge those tiny muscles. Allow them to cut the dough with age-appropriate scissors or use tools to cut out shapes. You can even let them use kitchen tools to find different ways to challenge their strength. You may even want to make your own play-dough at home using a recipe like this one. Let your child stir, add in dots of food coloring, and knead until it’s ready for an extra lesson before playtime. Play-dough is a great way for kids to build their creative chops and develop sensory skills, too. You really can’t go wrong with play-dough!
Do Puzzles Together
Puzzles are a great way for kids to gain numerous skills when you’re teaching fine motor skills at home. Developing those fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination are some of the biggest reasons puzzles are so good for young kids. For young toddlers, large puzzles with knobs help them practice grasping and precision. As they get a bit older, finding puzzles that fit together will help them work on their problem-solving strategies. Puzzles are great for helping toddlers learn persistence and special recognition as well. Make them a part of regular playtime to give your child the chance to practice these skills and celebrate small wins along the way.
Make Crafts with Scissors, Paints, and Crayons
Encourage a love of art from a young age while also teaching fine motor skills at home by crafting with your toddler. Allowing kids to practice cutting with scissors helps build the muscles needed to write and utensils further down the road. Give your child simple things to practice cutting with toddler-appropriate scissors, such as Play-dough, as mentioned above, or construction paper. Working with paints and crayons helps your child practice grasping while strengthening their skills in special awareness, hand eye coordination, creativity, and self-confidence. Plus, you and your toddler can create work you can display in your home!
Play in the Sand
Sand play is a great way for your child to build many skills as well, especially those fine motor skills. Sand allows kids to dig, experience sensory touch, and build strength in their hands in a way that’s particularly fun and memorable. Giving your toddler extra tools to play in sand will also build their gross motor development and help them continue to build up the muscles they’ll use as they grow. Like other forms of find motor skill development games, they’ll also build their problem-solving skills, boost their eye-hand coordination, and develop creativity while they play.
Pick up Cereal or Beads
Kids need to practice the pincer grasp, a fine motor task that will help your baby become more self-sufficient at eating. A great way to help your child improve is playing with something small like beads or Cheerios. Place beads or cereal in a bowl and encourage your child to pick them up with the thumb and pointer finger. When using beads, help your child push them into something squishy like Play-dough for even more fine motor skill work. Or, if using Cheerios, an extra bonus is that your toddler or baby can get a healthy snack to eat.
Let PALS Help Your Child Grow
Once you’re done teaching fine motor skills at home, it’s time to send your child to preschool. Reach out to us at PALS. PALS Praise & Leadership Schools provides many advantages to help your child find success in those next stages of life. Our innovative curriculum fills your child’s days with activities that build self-esteem and moral character, as well as set them up for an incredible future. Our students leave, fully prepared to think, reason, produce, be responsible, achieve, excel, communicate, and be happy. PALS Praise & Leadership Schools is designed to help children recognize and exalt their natural gifts. We’d love to show you how.
PALS offers two great campuses in Peoria, both which offer the same high standards of care for your child. To learn more, or to schedule a tour of one of our two facilities, contact us at our North Peoria campus (2327 W Willow Knolls Rd, Peoria, IL 61614) at 309-228-2505. Or call our Downtown Peoria campus (700 NE Greenleaf, Peoria, IL 61603) at 309-740-4463. We invite you to see the PALS difference.