Tuesday, December 19, 2017

The Importance of Fine Motor Skills

The cup has spilled again.  There is cereal on the floor.  Your shirt is on backward.  All parents can relate to these words and the frustrations of raising young children.  But, try to relax in knowing that by making these mistakes, your child is practicing and strengthening their fine motor skills.  

Many of our children's daily activities, like eating breakfast, coloring, and getting dressed, require strength and control of small muscles in the hands.  As adults, we take these skills for granted, but they are an extremely important part of growth and learning for young children.  There are several activities that can help young children increase muscle strength and coordination, which will prepare them for more advanced skills, such as writing with a pencil or playing an instrument.  The following examples all help your child build fine motor skills right at home:

  • setting the table
  • loading the dishwasher/washing dishes in the sink
  • folding laundry (washcloths/towels)
  • helping with simple recipes
  • buttoning pants/coat
  • playing with playdough and clay
  • drawing, coloring
  • playing with puzzles/pegboards
  • playing with puppets
  • cutting with child-safe scissors
  • helping wrap presents
  • turning pages in a book

Painting is a wonderful way for children of all ages to practice their fine motor skills.  For the youngest children, try making an edible finger paint by mixing flour, water, and food coloring.   Tape a large sheet of paper on your table and watch your child create a masterpiece!  Make sure they have on clothing that can be easily washed.  For the preschool-aged child, try cotton ball painting.  Create your own paint by mixing water and food coloring in small, disposable cups.  Give your child several cotton balls and allow them to dip the cotton balls into the paint and rub onto the paper.  Have fun!

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