Fine motor skills involve small, precise movements such as grasping objects, tying shoes and writing. Because fine motor skills are an essential part of everyday life, it is imperative that children master these skills at an early age. Through play, arts and crafts, games and practice, muscle strength and coordination will help to improve a child's fine motor skills. Poor motor skills can lead to frustration, boredom, low self-esteem and discouragement because they make the child less self-sufficient.
Improving Fine Motor Skills
Get moving. Daily activities such as getting dressed or brushing your teeth can help teach fine motor skills. Buttoning buttons, closing snaps and tying shoelaces all involve the precise movement of hands and fingers. Allowing your child to be as independent as possible also aids in the development of both gross and fine motor skills. Give a small child a bowl of fruit and have them pick the pieces out with their fingers or teach them to use a spoon or fork. Teach older kids how to eat with chopsticks.
Get creative. Arts and crafts can also help increase fine motor skills. Activities such as cutting paper, playing with modeling clay, writing and drawing use hand-eye coordination and rely on the manipulation of hands and fingers. Have the child make a card or collage, sculpt clay, bead a necklace or make snowflakes.
Get outdoors. Plant a garden or pick flowers to make a wreath or bouquet. Planting flowers requires picking up small seeds and depositing them in the soil. Pretend to be scientists on an expedition and collect sticks, rocks, insects and plants to observe under a magnifying glass.
Get baking. Cooking and baking require fine motor skills such as measuring out the ingredients, breaking the eggs, stirring the bowl and frosting cupcakes. Have the child decorate the cake or cupcake he or she just baked using tiny candies, sprinkles and icing.
Get playing. Legos, puzzles and blocks are all great tools for learning fine motor skills because they require concentration and skill to master. Other activities that require some practice are putting money into a piggy bank, shooting water guns and blowing bubbles.
Be patient with your child or student. Remember that each child learns and his or her own pace.