Kids are tasked with learning a whole lot of important things, fine motor skills being one of them. Children have a remarkable ability to learn, but often, certain skills develop faster than others. Many a mom has been faced with the dilemma of an overtly clumsy toddler who has some trouble with finer motions such as holding a pencil or fastening a button. The best way to help your toddler to get better at their everyday motor-based tasks is to encourage behaviors and activities that help them to practice the more difficult fine motor skills! Here are 10 tips to boost fine motor skills in your child!
10 Encourage Your Child To Help In The Kitchen
The acts of cooking and cleaning in a kitchen require several specific motor skills that could really benefit a struggling child. Encourage your child to pour their own juice into their cup or help to set the table. Kids especially enjoy working in the kitchen with a parent and being made to feel part of the process of cooking.
Offer your child the option to help with kid-safe activities in the kitchen like shaking, stirring, tasting, and pouring. Not only will these activities boost your child’s fine motor skills, but kids will love the quality time with a parent and might even develop an early knack for cooking.
9 Give Your Child Playdough Or Putty
Children love being able to play with very tactile objects, and playdough or putty is the perfect option. Toys like playdough and putty encourage children not only to be creative with what they can make but to use fine movements as they do so. Creating shapes and characters with playdough and putty is a surefire way to get little hands moving in more complex ways. Purchase a child-safe brand of putty and watch as your little one uses the gummy toy to strengthen the muscles and agility of their fingers. Plus, playdough and putty have limited clean-up so the benefits are plenty!
8 Teach Your Child To Sew Or Crochet
Sewing is a skill that could serve your child well for the rest of their life, and it is one that is often overlooked by parents. Teaching a child to sew or crochet will help them to improve their fine motor skills, focus, and hand-eye coordination. Sewing tools require very fine movements and threading a needle is extremely difficult. There are fun kits with large, child-safe needles and yarn to get your child started. As they get the hang of larger tools, they’ll be learning those fine-motor skills to use the real thing later in life. Check out your local craft store for easy, fun, and safe kits to teach your child crocheting or sewing!
7 Make Art With Your Child
Most kids are inclined to enjoy artistic activities such as coloring and crafts. Spending time doing different crafts with your child will help them practice important motor skills. Using child scissors to cut different crafts, like paper snowflakes, will help your child to practice finer and less natural hand movements. Coloring (inside or outside the lines!) and painting encourages a child to use their hands create the ideas they have in their heads. Learning to clean up can help their skills too. Not only will your child create fun keepsakes, but they will also be improving their fine motor skills!
6 Play Video Games With Your Child
Video games are often overlooked in parenting articles as something that can be helpful to a child’s development. However, consider the specific and fine movements necessary to use a video game controller or computer mouse! When a child learns the controls of a game, they are learning to use very specific and complicated fine movements. Of course, it is always good to limit screen time, but playing video games with your child creates a realm of benefits for more difficult motor skills. Consider opting for an educational game so that your child can work their hands, learn a little something, and have fun all at the same time!
5 Purchase Fine-Movement Toys For Your Child
This one is an easy tip; what child doesn’t love more toys? By purchasing fine-movement toys for your kids, you’ll be allowing them to develop those complex motor skills. Consider getting your child stickers or board games with smaller pieces to help with your child’s coordination and maneuvering. Play cars that require remote control are also an excellent choice as children will have to learn how to use specific and quick movements with the control. Playing with these new toys will keep a child thoroughly entertained, and help their hands get used to new kinds of movement: benefits all around!
4 Let Your Child Help You In The Garden
Gardening is often a brilliant hobby for outdoorsy parents, so it is an excellent choice to get your child involved. Much of gardening requires fine movements such as using tools like a trowel or handling seeds (often very tiny and perfect for training little hands). Kids love getting dirty, so help your child with their fine movement by getting them into the soil along with you.
Your child will love seeing their hard work pay off when plants begin to grow, and will likely beg you to help in the garden again and again! Consider growing a variety of plants so that your child can learn about the seeds while they improve their motor skills.
3 Make Jewelry With Your Child
Kids love to make crafts and a common school-time activity is making jewelry. Consider buying some beads and jewelry string to make jewelry at home. Threading beads around string is a difficult task for little hands and your child’s fine motor skills will improve as they create! If you don’t want to buy jewelry supplies, you can use materials around the house to help your child make necklaces. Use kitchen string and pasta noodles to improve your child’s finer skills in the same way! Your child will love creating jewelry that they can wear or that they can give as a gift to loved ones!
2 Teach Your Child Origami
Origami is an ancient Japanese craft that is immensely beneficial to fine motor skills and extremely popular with children. Purchase an origami book from your local bookstore, or cut the paper into squares and lookup origami crafts online! Your child will love creating animals, buildings, vehicles, and more in the paper shapes. Their little hands will have to learn complex movements to be able to create the correct finished product, and the craft will help with their focus too! Origami is an easy and fun way for your child to improve fine motor skills and learn about a different culture!
1 Take Your Child To A Hands-On Museum
Hands-on museums are full of different ways for children to practice fine motor skills. The exhibits will often involve games and handling more complex objects that will not only educate your child but improve their fine motor skills as well. Kids will love looking at the different exhibits and museums can get their hands busy in ways that you won’t be able to at home. Look up children's museums in your area and take up a weekend visiting one! Pro tip: most museums have discounts on certain days of the week, so look up if there are any options in advance!