Activities to develop fine motor skills for children

Developing fine motor skills is critical for children's development and these skills are a pre-cursor to writing. There are a number of activities that will help children to build up muscle strength in their hands and also serve to improve their hand-eye coordination.

Fine motor skills are so important; they're used in daily activities such as  dressing, eating, brushing your teeth, drawing, writing and playing with toys. It is vital children develop these skills to help them with school and other everyday living activities. Learning can be fun and can fit in around your daily routine like during car journeys and bath time or while you are busy in the kitchen.

Fine motor skills can be enhanced in a number of ways, such as the activities listed below:

Experiment with art
Drawing and painting are fantastic ways for children to learn to grip objects and make shapes on a page, and this will translate to holding a pen and forming letters and numbers at a later stage.

Children can indulge in finger, hand and foot-printing as well as using paints, brushes and sponges to create mini-masterpieces. Children will also enjoy using oversized chalk to make pictures on concrete surfaces.

Collages using small items such as pasta, beans and lentils will also challenge children to improve their grip.

Colouring dot to dot pictures will also help children to become more confident with their pencil grip.

Getting dressed
Fastening buttons, pulling at Velcro and doing up zips will all help to develop fine motor skills with regular practice. Children can also use their dressing up clothes to gain further practice.

Play games
There are a number of games that are ideal for developing fine motor skills and these include creating jigsaw puzzles, putting shapes into an appropriate slot and clay modelling.

Peg boards, building blocks and other construction materials also lend themselves well to strengthening hand muscles.

Learning through physical play has always been a practice in the early years development and can be used to aid children's development in several areas.

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