How to Help Children with Fine Motor Development:
Helping children master fine motor skills involves some planning but at the same time can be, and is quite simple to make developing these skills successful. Fine motor skills require greater effort and much more hand-eye coordination.
Making sure you have tools at different levels of development will help developing these skills a success. For example, a toddler (ages 18mos-2 ½ years) who is introduced to puzzles will have more success doing a three piece puzzle rather than a puzzle with ten or more pieces. Peg puzzles are a great fine motor activity.
Fine motor muscles are needed to pick up the pieces using the small pegs on the pieces. Peg puzzles also come in a wide variety of educational themes.
There are number puzzles, color puzzles, shape puzzles, etc. Once a puzzle with fewer pieces is mastered, puzzles with more pieces may be introduced to challenge and encourage development of these skills at a higher level.
A preschool aged child (2 ½ yrs – 4yrs) will be able to master a puzzle with more pegged pieces and eventually advance to a puzzle with no pegged pieces.
Stringing / Lacing Beads Fine Motor Development Activity:
Another popular and very effective fine motor activity is stringing/lacing beads. This activity can be practiced at different levels as well. To introduce this activity a large string such as a shoelace and large beads with large holes will help the children begin to master this skill and develop hand-eye coordination while they practice using their fine motor muscles. As they master the skill of lacing using the large shoelace and large beads, switching to a smaller lace and smaller beads will help them refine this skill even more and master the development of their fine motor muscles.
As children master the lacing activity using the smaller tools, you could introduce activities such as making bead bracelets, and bead necklaces.
Cutting with Scissors – Fine Motor Development Activity:
Learning to cut with scissors can be one of the most challenging fine motor activities for children to learn. Cutting with scissors involves hand-eye coordination along with using the fine motor muscles in the hand and fingers in order to cut paper. There are training scissors available to help make this activity a little easier for children to master.
To help make this activity less of a challenge, the key is to be patient, let the children master this skill at their own pace, and most importantly, do not force them to use their right hand. If a child naturally holds scissors in their left hand, provide them with left-handed scissors which are available with training scissors.
Once this skill has been learned you can easily make practice sheets for children to learn to cut on. You can start by drawing a straight line down the middle of a piece of paper for the children to learn how to cut along a line. Once the children have learned to cut along a straight line you can mix it up and make it fun by drawing a wavy line, a jagged line, a zigzag, etc.
Cutting can be a fun and stress free activity making it a positive experience for children.
Additional Fine Motor Activities >