Fine motor skills are the coordination of small muscle movements, which occur in the fingers usually in coordination with the eyes.
Abilities that involve the use of hands develop over time, starting with primitive gestures such as grabbing at objects to more precise activities that involve precise eye–hand coordination. Fine motor skills are skills that involve a refined use of the small muscles controlling the hand, fingers, and thumb. The development of these skills allows one to be able to complete tasks such as writing, drawing, and buttoning.
Here is a list of 10 fine motor activities that you can do at home with your young children. These activities are great because they are incredibly simple and they cater to your little one’s desire for repetition and I-can-do-it-myself attitude. This keeps little hands and minds busy while also encouraging the development of fine motor skills needed for the preschool years and beyond.
Specific fine motor skills encouraged in these activities include:
Pincer grasp: Pinching with thumb and index finger.
Finger isolation: Activating a single finger on command (such as the index finger for pointing and pushing).
Thumb opposition: Coordinating the thumb with the other fingers to help with holding, squeezing, and strengthening the space between thumb and index finger (known as the “web space”).
Tripod grasp: Pinching with thumb and index finger while resting the object on the middle finger, much like you’d hold a pencil.
Hand-eye coordination: Coordinating hand movements based on what the eyes are seeing. Also known as visual-motor integration.
Bilateral coordination: Coordinating the use of two hands to accomplish a task, such as stabilising an object with one hand while working with the other.
Midline integration: Being able to come to and cross over the invisible line that separates the left and right sides of the body. This contributes to the development of hand dominance. If your child struggles with this, encourage midline crossing by placing desired items on the side opposite the hand they are using so they have to reach across their body.
1. Push Pom Poms into a traffic cone or plastic bottle.
2. Use a shape sorter puzzle
3. Using our Incy Wincy Spider touch and feel board, pull the spider up and down the pole.
4. Paint using paintbrushes on an easel.
5. Make shapes in play dough with cookie cutters. Flatten the dough, push down the shapes, and pinch to pull up out of the dough.
6. Put pipe cleaners in the holes of a colander. Another incredibly simple yet repetitive and engaging activity!
7. Stack cheerios on dry spaghetti, which are stuck into play-dough. It can actually be pretty tricky to put the beads on without breaking the noodles!
8. Create Dinosaur wonderland using Kinetic sand
9. Using kitchen towel or toilet rolls, dip them in different coloured paint to create awesome art!
10. A fly swat and a balloon are great fun for a toddler version of hockey.