As kids hit preschool age you will start hearing about fine motor skills. Often they are mentioned in hushed voices by moms whose 3-year-old daughters are taking advanced calligraphy classes. Fine motor skills, or things that involve using finger, hand and wrist muscles ARE important to many things we do everyday, namely writing. Relax. Moms of 4-5-6 year-olds are still stressed out about getting rid of diapers and pacifiers and making their child school-ready. Fine motor skills should not be the straw that breaks anyone’s back!
There are many easy, fun things you can do at home to improve your child’s fine motor skills if you are concerned. Keep in mind that boys develop fine motor skills at a slower rate than girls. (If it helps, boys’ gross motor skills are usually stronger.) Do not compare your son to your daughter or to his current love from his play group! Just don’t! Boys may take a little longer to develop decent handwriting, scissor skills and the ability to glue things neatly. Keep in mind that by the time he graduates high school, no one will know whether he or Kaitlyn had stronger glue skills in kindergarten.
One fun activity that develops creativity as well as fine motor skills is making your own play dough. No matter which recipe you prefer, encourage your child to knead the dough using his fingers to work all the way through. This is easier working with small chunks, rather than one big lump of dough. Keep it fun, a little punching and tossing of the dough is fine.
If you are planning to build a fire or light the grill, have your child hold a whole newspaper sheet in each hand and crumple the sheets simultaneously until they’re small enough for you to use. It seems simple, but it works all of the fine motor muscles. Other simple activities include using tweezers to pick up things like Lego’s or raisins, finger painting, squishing bubble wrap and even using a squirt gun.
Visit Squidoo for even better ideas. And relax. Really.
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