Fine motor development involves the use of small muscles in the hands and fingers, and is needed for everyday activities now and in the future. It is the ability to work with and pick up small items, colour and draw, threading and cutting, copying and writing.
Here are some home activities to do with your preschoolers to develop hand strength – • do a variety of different jigsaw puzzles together • tear paper from old books and magazine to stick to a collage • peel and stick stickers to pages and pictures • wrap and stick “presents” of old toys • build with and play games of dominoes • colour and write with broken crayons, short pencils and fine markers • draw around shadows, use stencils or through tracing paper • build with small Lego or wooden blocks • string beads, cereal or pasta using pipe cleaners, wool or shoelaces • play pick up games with cotton balls using tweezers and tongs • play pick up games with small buttons and sequins using your fingers • paint with various brushes on various surfaces • use hole punches and staplers
Cutting – Cutting is not only an essential life skill, but also develops hand strength and coordination. When cutting with your child, show them how to hold the scissors properly first, with the thumb up. Next show them how to move the scissors open and closed, “open, shut them, open, shut them, give a little snip snip snip”. If all they can do is snip around the edges at this stage that is OK. The next motion is to push the scissors forward as you open and shut them to cut in a straight line.
Items to cut – • construction paper or wrapping paper • playdough or slime • newspapers ormagazines • tissue paper or kitchen roll • ribbon, string or wool • leaves, grass or flowers
Water play – Water play can be a great time to incorporate fine motor fun. Children can help with the dishes or spend a little longer than necessary washing their hands. If you have a basin or bucket of water allow the children to play with the following items in the garden. Otherwise, add them to the bath for extra fun. • bath toys to squeeze and squirt • sponges and cloths • tweezers, tongs and kitchen tools • bubbles or bath bombs • slime or colour • water bead You can also clean and reuse the following household items once they are empty to be used in water play– • bottles for eye drops and contact lens solution • spray bottles with triggers • plastic bottles and jars with lids