Fine Motor Skills
What Are Fine Motor Skills?
We use fine motor skills to make small movements. These movements come so naturally to most people that we usually don’t think about them. Fine motor skills are complex, however. They involve the coordinated efforts of the brain and muscles, and they’re built on the gross motor skills that allow us to make bigger movements.
Children use fine motor skills to do many school-related tasks.
There are things you can do at home to help improve your child’s fine motor skills.
What skills do ‘fine motor skills’ include?
- Pencil skills (scribbling, colouring, drawing, writing)
- Scissors skills (cutting)
- Construction skills using lego, duplo, puzzles, train tracks
- Doll dressing and manipulation
- IT use (e.g. mouse and stylus manipulation)
- Self care including
- dressing – tying shoelaces, doling up sandals, zips, buttons, belts
- eating – using cutlery, opening lunch boxes and food bags
- hygiene – cleaning teeth, brushing hair, toileting.
There are plenty of activities that you can set up at home to encourage fine motor development ...
- Using tweezers and tongs to transfer small objects
- Threading beads onto a lace
- Building blocks including Lego
- Making small objects with Play dough
- Hanging out laundry – using clothes pegs is quite a skill! Get your child to help you with the laundry or set up an activity where they hang up their dolls clothes with clothes pegs.
- Sorting small objects such as beads, dried beans or buttons
- Matching nuts and bolts – Raid the shed and see how many different sized nuts and bolts you can find. Place the nuts in one bowl and the bolts in the other and show your child how to find the matching set and then when they are all matched, to arrange in size.
Posting small objects such as pipe cleaners into a bottle – Pipes cleaners or straws, posted into the neck of a PET bottle
Pipet or water dropper – use this to create art with or to transfer water from one bowl to another.
Buckle and unbuckling and buttoning skills – anything where the child is practicing to buckle up or fasten buttons, zips, hook and eye.
Putting coins into a money box – Children love listening to the noise it makes too.
Matching padlocks and keys – collect a selection of locks and their keys together, keys in one bowl and locks in another. Challenge your child to find the correct key for each lock.
Board games that use small pieces – any board game that uses small pieces work for this, even if your child can’t actually play, lots of fun can be had.
Counting – activities which use small objects as counters. You don’t need anything special to do this, coins, buttons, Lego pieces, acorns after a walk, sticks…
Popping bubble wrap – who doesn’t love doing this! It does need to be between two fingers to be working the right muscles.
Learning to tie laces
Elastic bands (or hair bobbles) onto different sized objects. A bag of elastic bands can bring a lot of fun. Try putting them over bottles or a can. On door handles is another good one.