We do a lot of fine motor practice here. Why? Because it is SOOOOO important!
Let’s start by talking about what fine motor skills are.
Fine motor can translate into “small muscle” specifically in the hands. They are the muscles that we use for writing, buttoning shirts, tying shoes, snapping paints, etc…
So why is it important to practice and develop those muscles? Won’t it just happen naturally?
Children begin to develop these skills very early in life. Think of a baby learning to grasp the finger of their mother. Later, they learn to pick up objects and play. Eventually, they reach preschool which is a crucial time to hone in those skills.
Being able to color with crayons, cut with scissors, paint with a paint brush, build with small legos doesn’t just happen. In fact, I have had many children come into my care that are almost kindergarten aged and have never practiced some of those skills. In fact, I can remember sitting in a continuing ed class with other childcare providers and them being surprised that it was something that they should be doing. I was surprised that they were not already doing some practicing! It used to be that those skills were something that was learned in kindergarten. But in today’s time, some schools are requiring children to read to begin kindergarten which is a whole other can of worms. haha
Early fine motor practice, through play, will lead to a much easier time when it comes to learning writing, typing, and other advanced activities. We know that children who struggle in the early years of school often end up with a negative attitude to learning and don’t live up to their potential in school. And none of us want that experience for our kids!
So now you know why it is important, How do you practice?
As I said earlier, PRACTICE THROUGH PLAY!
Last week I talked about pre-writing practice by tracing shapes, letters, designs in different mediums.
Today, we made February placemats and used lots of stickers to decorate them. The peeling and sticking of different sized stickers is great FM practice.
Shape or line tracing and cutting is great practice.
Pinch grip practice like this “apple picking” activity.
Playdough or putty is a great grip strengthener. Try this homemade playdough recipe.
Paper tearing is cheap if you use scrap paper and is another great way to practice. Our use construction paper to create mosaics.
lacing cards, stamping, fingerprinting, etc… The possibilities really are endless!
Most importantly let you kids try many different things. It is never to early to start coloring, painting and playing toward better writing!