Ways to Improve Fine Motor Skills in Preschoolers
What are fine motor skills?
Though they sound clinical and complicated, fine motor skills refer to the movement of smaller muscles in the body. When your little one uses their fingers to turn the pages of a book, balances using their toes, or flexes their wrist to throw a ball, they are using their fine motor skills. These skills require some coordination between the fine muscles in use and the eyes and can be developed through everyday tasks your child is probably already doing. To strengthen your preschooler’s fine motor skills, encourage them to participate in activities that require them to grasp, press, and pinch, like holding onto markers or a dog’s leash, pressing the buttons on a toy phone or cash register, and picking up leaves or flowers in the garden. Developing these skills are critical to your little one’s development and will help them gain proficiency and independence.
What are gross motor skills?
Unlike the smaller movements under fine motor skills, gross motor skills involve the movement and development of larger body parts, such as arms, legs, and the torso. Gross motor skills lead to proficiency in activities including crawling, walking, running, and jumping. Most children develop their gross motor skills in infancy and early childhood so that by the time they are preschoolers, the focus should be on the development of their fine motor skills.
Here’s why fine motor skills are important for your child’s growth:
1. They Promote Independence
The development of fine motor skills allow preschoolers to perform their daily chores on their own. It is important they learn how to get dressed, eat their meals, turn faucets on and off, and open and close doors using the handles. Self reliance while performing these actions can instill a sense of confidence in your little one and make them more self-assured individuals.
2. They Improve Their Hand-Eye Coordination
Hand-eye coordination is crucial in succeeding in most activities we take for granted. For instance, writing a sentence or drawing a picture, buttoning a shirt, pouring a glass of water all take some measure of hand-eye coordination to achieve. etc. Through activities that enhance fine motor skills, children can improve their hand-eye coordination and get these everyday activities down pat.
3. They Enhance Routines
As a child develops their fine motor skills, they become more motivated to look after themselves. With improved fine motor skills, your child can better perform routine tasks, such as bathing, dressing, brushing their teeth and hair, eating neatly, tidying up, and washing up, and will look forward to adding more complex tasks to their routine.
4. They Allow for Social and Emotional Development
Often, not being able to perform seemingly simple tasks: buttoning a shirt, eating with a fork, or even holding a pencil properly, can lead to frustration and anger in children. This can also lead to a sense of dissatisfaction and make them disengage from activities around them.
Thus, the healthy development of their fine motor skills can help your child make better connections with the environment around them and engage confidently with their peers. It can also give them a sense of community and belonging as they perform similar assignments and share notes on their skills and activities.
5. They Boost Their Academic Growth
Once a child has developed their fine motor skills, they will be more willing and excited to volunteer to perform and present in the classroom. They are likely to be more creative with their solutions, thus enhancing their learning outcomes.
Now that we know how important it is for a child to develop their fine motor skills, let’s look at the number of ways in which parents can help a child develop these skills at home!
Ways to Improve Fine Motor Skills :
1. Playing with Puzzles
Puzzles are a great way to strengthen focus and fine motor skills. Solving puzzles introduces your little one to sorting, flipping, and rotating the pieces to fit them in the right space. It also helps your child learn how to use their imagination to work towards building the final picture. Skillmatics learning kits include a variety of puzzles to keep your child engaged and growing.
This puzzle teaches counting while helping develop fine motor skills by requiring your little one to place up to 30 puzzle pieces in a row.
In this interactive game, preschoolers can make Disco’s life more colorful by matching the numbers on the balloons to the numbers on the niches on the board and placing the corresponding pieces at the correct place.
2. Playing Board Games
We encourage families to spend some quality time together while playing these games. Board games are a great way to build a family bond while encouraging your little one to find creative solutions to problems. These games promise lots of fun and learning for the whole family!
Available in a wide range of themes from animals and space exploration, to colors and shape matching, these games require the child to connect the tiles while learning cool bits of information from them.
This game makes for a great visual and imaginative exercise that requires the preschooler to apply their logic and problem solving skills alongside learning how to navigate cars to a safe parking location.
Guess in 10
Help your little one learn about the world around them with Guess in 10. Whether you choose to play with the food set, the animal set, or the community set, you and your child will have fun trying to figure out what each dish, creature, and helper is. By asking questions to learn about the mystery figure, your little one will strengthen their critical thinking skills and learn more about the world around them.
3. Drawing and Coloring
Art is one of the most expressive and creative ways of learning and also empowers children with the ability to develop fine motor skills.
Each learning kit by Skillmatics comes with four double-sided reusable learning mats with temporary markers. Children can practise writing and drawing by tracing shapes and patterns on the mats and perfecting their use of a pen.
Letting them Loose:
Let your child tap into their inner artist with a paper and crayons. Take it one step further by letting them try out finger-painting. This is immensely helpful in improving fine motor skills as your child learns to design patterns and doodles using their fingers.
4. Getting Crafty
Learning how to create things from scratch and molding shapes and patterns are sure to instill fine motor skills in your child while they have fun getting creative!
By cutting shapes on paper, children learn how to safely use scissors to create unique works of art. . This activity can help children move their fingers with dexterity as they master hand-eye coordination.
Watch your child sculpt their skills along with the dough. By using clay, children are able to build finger strength and learn how to use both their hands simultaneously to knead and fold the dough into the desired shapes
5. Using Manipulatives
Manipulatives are learning tools that are targeted towards keeping a preschooler engaged and engrossed in the activity. They involve “the use of objects to build, weigh, move, order, turn, or arrange to fit.” They’re best known to enhance a child’s fine motor skills. The following are some such activities:
Turn and Learn:
Who knew that learning words and flipping pages could be made so simple? In teaching your little one new words and motor skills, this learning kit activity allows them to explore reading and makes them more confident in turning pages, as well as phrases, effectively.
You can make cleaning up interesting for your child by introducing it as a game to them. For instance, “whoever stacks all the shoes in the rack first wins!” or “if you can fold all your clothes within 5 minutes, you’ll beat the family record.” Helping them clean their space will make preschoolers more responsible about self-care as well as improve their fine motor skills.
Learning, harnessing, and strengthening fine motor skills is an essential part of helping your child grow. Fortunately, doing so is easy and fun with the at-home activities and games mentioned above. Put them to good use, and your child’s motor skills will be just fine!
Learn how Skillmatics, maker of top-selling educational games and activities worldwide such as Guess in 10 and Found It, developed a learning box subscription to encourage children 3-5 years old, to develop core skills through play. The Skillmatics Learning Kits include age-appropriate, skill-building activities delivered right to your door every other month.