Fine motor coordination involves controlling the small muscles of the body, such as those in the wrist, hand, and fingers. It often requires coordinating the eyes and hands to work together to make movements, sometimes called eye-hand coordination. Children challenged by fine motor problems may have messy handwriting, hold pencils in an awkward manner, tear the paper when erasing, spill paint over their artwork, and don’t stay on the line when cutting. Often these children resist practice because they don’t want to do things with a pencil and paper.
Luckily, children can improve their fine motor skills without workbooks or worksheets. Even luckier, many of the materials are already in your home. Best of all, most of the activities are fun and kids want to do them. Letting your child “play around” with these materials can help their fine motor development:
Play dough and modeling clay
Lego and other construction sets
Office tools: pencil sharpener, hole punch, stapler, scissors, tape dispenser, eraser, paste, glue stick, ruler, etc.
Computer keyboard and mouse
Workshop tools: hammer/nails, screwdriver/screws, bolts/wrench
Keys and locks
Squirt bottles – fill an empty detergent bottle with water and try to hit a target or draw a shape/letter/number
Tweezers/chopsticks to pick up small items like kernels of rice/beads
Throw and catch balls, using smaller and smaller sizes
Kitchen tools: cooky, egg beater, cooky cutters, whisk
Craft kits, like paint by number sets, simple models, simple sewing, origami Paint with a brush or make prints. Paint with water outside and there’s no clean up.
Practice handwriting (but not on paper). Use a finger to draw and write numbers, letters, shapes, names, spelling words in mud, lotion, shaving cream, whipped cream, frosting. Put these things in a baking pan or cooky sheet and there’s less mess to clean up.