By: Shauna Thom, Preschool Teacher
It’s never too early to start developing fine motor skills! Activities done at home to help foster those small muscles in the hands lay the foundation for the children’s skills in writing, cutting, and other tools used in grade school. However, please keep in mind that every child’s skill development occurs at a different rate and rushing children into doing something they are not ready for can cause more harm that good. Make sure the activities or tasks are challenging but not frustrating. This will help promote confidence while building those fine motor skills.
Here is a list of fun activities for preschool aged children to help in this area:
- Sidewalk chalk ✦LEGO’s
- Sewing/Lacing Cards ✦Knobbed puzzles
- Dot-to-dots ✦Stringing Beads
- Paper Clipping small stacks together
- Play Dough - hide beads in the dough and having the children pull them out; make little shapes that require finger work, like small grapes or worms; or just play normally as the flattening of the dough works the hand muscles
- Newspapers/junk mail - perfect for tearing (using thumb, index, and middle fingers), cutting, and crumpling
- Spray bottles - great for developing strength to maintain the “open web space” between thumb and index fingers. Add food coloring for more fun. Great way to get flowers watered :)
- Tweezers/small tongs/clothes pins - use to pick up objects (can also turn into a sorting game)
- Eye droppers - have children fill up cups or use colored water and put drops onto coffee filters and watch colors spread; The little suction cups on the bottom of bathtub shapes become mini bowls when turned upside down. Squeeze one drop of colored water into each little ‘bowl’ on the shape.
- Coins/buttons/small objects - have children pick them up using their thumb and index finger; put coins in a piggy bank
- Nuts & Bolts - (larger nuts and bolts) children have to use their fingers, hands, and wrists, coordinating both hands while grasping and twisting the metal nuts onto the bolts.
- Bean Gluing - Children draw a simple picture on a piece of construction paper with a pencil. They trace the pencil lines with glue and glue the beans onto the design.
- Pouring - pour (water, sand, popcorn seeds, etc.) from one bottle to another.