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4. Develop fine motor skills

What are fine motor skills?

Fine motor skills involve using small muscles in our hands, wrists, fingers, feet, and toes. Fine motor skills involve the movements of small muscles that require your child's brain to coordinate between the action and what they are seeing. Fine motor skills can impact things like holding a fork to eat or using a pencil to write.Developing those muscles includes grasping, holding, pressing, or using a pincer grip (having something between the forefinger and thumb). 

Why are fine motor skills that important?

For young children of preschool,  kindergarten and early school age, fine motor skill development is critical. This development is vital for everyday activities like buttoning up a shirt, using utensils to eat, tying shoelaces, cutting with scissors, and writing. As adults, we use fine motor skills so often in our daily lives that it's easy not to realize that the task we are completing requires a specific skill set and the use of certain muscles.

If a young child cannot do these everyday tasks, it can affect their self-confidence, ability to develop self-care and independence skills, and academic performance.


Below you'll find 11 ways to improve your child's fine motor skills. We are requesting your support to practice these activities with your child daily.

Tactile play with suitable old favourite materials like play-dough is an excellent way for kids to experiment and build fine motor skills. To make this even more interesting, you could make the play-dough with your child first before they play with it.

Do puzzles together. Picking up and moving puzzle pieces into place helps develop a pincer grasp. 
Watching or helping your child learn how to complete a puzzle can sometimes be frustrating; they can be impatient and give up easily, lose pieces or put them in their mouth. But if you stick with it the rewards are worth it. Engage with and encourage your child as much as you can to complete easy puzzles at first and then progressively harder ones; doing this will improve their hand-eye skills, coordination and motor skills.

Watching the smile and sense of satisfaction that your child will get from completing a puzzle provides tremendous encouragement.  

  1. Drawing, colouring in and painting

Encourage your child to draw and paint. This helps their fine motor skills, creativity, and imagination. Try different types of painting and other mediums, like crayons, chalk, finger paints, brush painting or charcoal, to spark their interest and strengthen your child's hand-eye coordination. Painting with a paintbrush helps kids learn to hold a brush and gain greater control using things in their hands, including pencils and other items. Paint-by-number can be an excellent form of brush painting for young children; Faber-Castell does a perfect version here.

  1. Using kitchen tongs or tweezers

    Create a game for kids using a small pair of kitchen tongs or tweezers to pick up some small objects like sultanas, grapes, pasta, and buttons, coins into a bowl.
  1. Cook and prepare

Making your child help cooking will provide great exercise, and manipulating materials like cookie dough or opening the bananas will give your child satisfaction while developing muscle strength.

Let your child prepare juice, squeeze the lemons or the orange, and let your child put their hands on these fruits and squeeze as much as possible. These activities will not be done perfectly, but the result will be great.

  1. Bath time play
    Use cups to fill and pour, sponges or squeaky rubber toys to squeeze. Try not to stress about water on the floor; you can always wipe it up afterwards. 
  1. Sand play
    Like bath time play, using cups to fill, pour, and out is fun and encourages sensory development. Scoop and dig with spoons. Use moulds. Draw pictures and build things. If you're inside, magic or kinetic sand is a great alternative.

  2. Build with blocks and Lego
    Stack, connect and build things together with blocks and Lego. These activities encourage delicate pushing and pulling movements. Lego is also great for fostering creativity. In addition, building with LEGO is an effective way to work and develop your child's fine motor skills. As children make and even pick up LEGO pieces, they will grow stronger muscles in their hands and improve coordination; this will help them improve other skills, such as learning to hold a pencil and write.

Other skills children can learn from playing with Lego include persistence, a sense of accomplishment and an improved ability to solve puzzles.

  1. Eye dropper tests
    Put some water in a few glasses. Pour a few drops of food colouring in each glass, so that you have different coloured water in each glass. Have a couple of empty bowls and glasses where kids can use an eyedropper to experiment with mixing additional coloured water. Try using vinegar instead of water, and have a bowl of bicarbonate soda that will fizz up when the coloured vinegar is dropped in.

  2. Threading and lacing

Thread different size pasta or beads onto strings, laces, and pipe cleaners. Tie knots and bows in the string. Finger knitting is easy and fun too!

  1. Learning to brush teeth

It can be difficult to teach young children to brush their own teeth, especially getting them to brush correctly, but doing so will help their development of fine motor skills. So let your child brush his teeth.

  1. Cutting with scissors

Using scissors is a great way to strengthen fine motor skills and improve hand-eye coordination and concentration. You can draw shapes for your child to cut around. Make some paper snowflakes—even cut play-dough. Make sure you use age-appropriate scissors.



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