Just as gross motor skills give your little one the ability to perform important daily tasks like getting out of bed and coming to find you for breakfast, fine motor skills allow for increasing independence in smaller but equally important tasks like zipping zippers, washing hands, brushing teeth and opening doors.
Fine motor skills help to open new doors to learning, exploration and creative expression, especially when combined with your preschooler’s hand eye coordination. These skills, rather than reciting the alphabet or counting, help to lay the foundation for learning in their later years. In order to learn to draw or write for example, your little one’s hand must be coordinated and strong enough to grasp a pencil. In order for you kids to participate in games, sports and projects it is incredibly important that their individual coordination and dexterity is up to par.
How to Help your Preschooler Build Fine Motor Skills
Fine Motor Skill for Preschoolers
During their preschool years your child will develop quite a few new abilities thanks to their developing fine motor skills.
They will learn the following:
- How to glue things to paper
- Clap their hands
- Touch fingers
- Work a zipper
- Build a 10-block tower
- Finish puzzles with more than five pieces
- Button and unbutton their clothing
- Hold a pencil or crayon and draw
- Cut out shapes with safety scissors
- Copy a circle onto a piece of paper
The best way for you to help them gain these skills is to give your children a wide variety of different materials and tools to manipulate, using their imagination. Things like tinker toys, markers, paints, modeling clay, glue, paste, construction paper and safety scissors are all good choices for these tasks.
How to Help Build Fine Motor Skills
Teach the Pincer Grasp
This will enable your child to easily pick up small items between their thumb and forefinger.
Filling and Dumping
Your child may take joy in filling buckets with their toys and then dumping the contents everywhere, while this may seem silly, it takes things like concentration, integrated muscle movements and cognitive reasoning.
To stack items effectively your little one will need wrist and hand stability to do so with control. Large wooden blocks work best for this activity. Once they can stack with those, you can switch it up to using smaller ones.
Allow your child to use utensils at every meal. This may be messy or cause a struggle but resist the urge to put a stop to it. Instead, let your child figure it out on their own.
Let them get Creative
Big crayons are the best for little hands, but you can also give your kids large piece of chalk and fingers paints to express themselves. This will help them develop the fine motor skills they need down the road.
Once your preschooler’s dexterity has improved, you can encourage them to play games like itsy bitsy spider or try making noodle necklaces. This will all help them to build upon their dexterity and already developed skills.
Fine motor skills are very important for many reasons, as they allow your kids to have more independence and prepare them for school.
Elizabeth Lampman is a coffee-fuelled Mom of 2 girls and lives in Hamilton, Ontario. She enjoys travelling, developing easy recipes, crafting, taking on diy projects, travelling and saving money!