Fine motor activities are important because they encourage and help your child work on developing their fine motor skills. These skills are essential for proper handwriting. Before being introduced to writing, your child should get plenty of practice developing fine motor skills.
Your child uses their small muscles of their body when practicing their fine motor skills that enable them to perform activities like grasping small objects, writing and fastening their clothing. With handwriting, however, the fine motor skills used are the smaller muscles in your child’s hands and fingers. To get lots of practice and make developing these skills fun for your child, below are some motor skill activities that your child can engage in before they take that next step of learning to write.
Playing with Playdough
A great way for your child to build strength in their hands and fingers without too much effort is playing with playdough. Have them practice rolling the playdough into snakes, making balls or creating fun designs.
Gather up a bunch of Q-tips and paint. Your child will have a blast creating beautiful masterpieces and learn the pincer grip while they’re at it.
Add big dots of glue on a piece of construction paper. The paper should be colored (not white) so the glue shows up better. Have them stick small objects on the glue such as buttons, beans, pebbles, pom-poms or other small objects.
Wikki Stix Poking Activity
For this fun fine motor activity, your child will be using wikki stix and a container with holes. For the container, you can use anything like a strainer, parmesan cheese containers or even an egg carton. Just poke some holes into the egg carton. Then give your child some wikki stix to practice poking through the holes. You can tape up some of the holes to allow your child to explore the different holes and find the ones that will require them to push or poke the wikki stix through.
Other ways you can help your child build their fine motor skills is by allowing them to:
- Hold spoons, forks or butter knives to eat.
- Set the table.
- Help with meals: chop, shake, stir, mix and cut.
- Pour juice into a cup.
- Use Velcro tabs.
- Cut with scissors that are child-safe.
- Use a sponge to wipe down the table.
- Open and close the lids of containers.
You may see some gradual improvement in your child’s handwriting ability by introducing these fun activities for them and not trying to force a pencil into their hands. Just remember, younger children may get frustrated while trying to learn something new. They may not put much effort into the task or even refuse to do the task altogether. This is why you want to start gradually with them and make their learning experience fun. Have their pediatric occupational therapist give you some ideas of fun fine motor activities to develop their fine motor skills in fun and meaningful ways.