21 Nov Fine Motor Activities at Home
In our Especially for Parents article for December we discussed the importance of fine motor skills for young children. This Community Playthings article provides some great information on the topic, including the activities listed below that you can try at home.
In addition, here is our homemade playdough recipe!
At-Home Activities for Building Fine Motor Skills from Community Playthings
Try incorporating these activities into the daily routine with your child:
Kitchen projects: Making home-made play dough strengthens muscles in the hands and fingers. Roll snakes and balls of all sizes; build with the balls and snakes. Your child can play with play dough at the counter or table while you make dinner.
Make peanut butter or sugar cookies that require the dough to be rolled into balls and smashed with a fork. Meatballs are fun and yummy, too.
Playing Grocery Store: Keep your canned goods on a bottom shelf. Allow your child to play grocery store—take out and rearrange the cans, sort by size, color, or content. This is a math readiness skill, too.
Sorting silverware or setting the table: Sorting silverware into its proper holder is a math skill; as is the patterning your child will do by laying the napkin, knife, fork, and spoon in order at each place-setting.
Eating with chop sticks: This is a more advanced fine motor skill, but not impossible to teach. Children in Asian countries learn quite young. Use chopsticks to pick up cotton balls, round cereal, or other small objects.
Folding clothes: Start with folding washcloths or towels. Fold in half, then fold again to make a quarter.
Stringing things: Make bracelets and necklaces by threading pasta, Fruit Loops, or beads onto pipe cleaners or thick strings. Add a pattern and you add math!
Playing dress-ups: Putting on coats and gloves, zipping up, snapping, buttoning, and tying shoes all help with building fine motor strength. Dressing a doll or stuffed animals is just as good, too!
Practicing with scissors: Start with safety scissors and a 4″ strip of paper to snip, snip, snip with and make fringe. Later, draw a path on the paper to cut along. Make confetti by cutting little snips of various colored, textured, and shiny wrapping paper. Cut pictures out of magazines and make a collage. Play dough is an excellent soft material for beginners to practice scissor skills on. Roll snakes and cut them into pieces.
Coloring and drawing: Encourage creativity by providing a variety of art mediums. Color with hard pressure, color with soft pressure. Outline the object hard, color soft inside. Instead of coloring, have the child fill the space with little controlled circles—pointillism—a captivating art technique.
Limiting technology: Put away the electronics. Or, better yet, create your own “TV program” by making a story scroll. After drawing out the story, scene by scene, on a long piece of paper, roll the paper tightly onto a cardboard tube. Make a “screen” by cutting a window out of a cardboard box. Mount the scroll inside the box on the left. Stretch the beginning of the story across the screen and tape it to another empty roll mounted on the right side of the box. Turning the right tube to make the scroll move helps develop fine motor skills too.