One of the most important set of skills to develop in children at a very early age are their fine motor skills. Fine motor skills are the abilities of a child to use his or her hand and fingers to manipulate different objects (Smith, 2003). Examples of these skills are reaching, grasping, and pouring to name a few. These skills are essential in developing other skills such as cognitive and social skills (Berk, 2000). In school, children are constantly being supported in developing these skills such as cutting, pasting, and writing.
But of course, it would be very beneficial as well to the child if similar experiences are done in the comfort of their own homes and would be more fulfilling if done with their parents and/or siblings.
Here are just 7 things parents and children can do at home to develop fine motor skills:
1) Playdough – Manipulating playdough helps children develop their hand muscles, making it easier to have better grasp– which is important especially in writing. Make your child form different objects such as their favorite food may it be a pizza or a burger, form a house, a castle, let them exercise their imagination. This also helps them develop their cognitive development.
2) Puzzles – Not only does it help them develop their logical skills and problem-solving skills, puzzles help children exercise their fingers especially in picking up the pieces to complete the picture. One thing you can do is have your family picture printed and cut them into puzzle pieces. This also helps your child be familiar with his or her family members and relatives as well.
3) Clothespins – These handy things are not only for clothes. They can also help your child develop one’s finger dexterity. The pressure one puts in opening a clothespin exercises the muscles in the fingers and paves the way for a better grasp.
4) Washing Hands – Frequently washing hands makes them very clean but also helps children stretch their fingers and hands. Teach your child how to clean and wash their hands by going through each finger and all around the front and back of the hand.
5) Putting Money in the Piggy Bank – They say that teaching children as young as they are how to save up is a very good thing. It surely is! Not only does it help them understand the concept of saving up and money, it also helps them develop their hand and finger muscles.
6) The Ice Trays – Use ice cube trays to put small objects in and have your child get them from the tray. You can also use this to teaching counting to your child like how many to put in one slot and so on.
7) Applying Hand Lotion – Just like washing your hands, applying hand lotion not only nourishes your child’s skin but also help them develop their hand and finger movement. Just make sure you teach them how to apply it properly on both hands.
These are just some things you can do with your child at home. As parents, you would want your child to learn and secure different skills as early as possible for maximum development. But we must always remember, skills are developed one step at a time. Each child matures at different ages and different times (Berk, 2000). We must not rush them in learning these skills but rather help them master the skills they are showing right now for them to develop more skills in the future.