Generally, toddlers don’t need much help with their gross motor skills. There is little to no encouragement needed to get your toddler to run, jump, walk, or skip. However, fine motor skills require a little bit of practice.
Fine motor skills refer to the smaller muscles in our hands that we have to get control of in order to do things like pick up pencils, write, tie our shoes, or cut paper with scissors. These smaller movements lead to vital physical and mental skills as your child develops. Infant child care starts work on this process.
Gay Girolami, a physical therapist and executive director of the Pathways Awareness Foundation, says “Stacking blocks, for instance, involves not just picking up the blocks, but knowing what to do with them and planning out the action.”Encouraging your child’s fine motor skills is as easy as letting them be themselves. Most children enjoy trying new activities. So, as a parent you need to step back, show your support, and let them have time to figure it out.
Here are five activities to help build your toddler’s fine motor skills:
- Getting dressed.
There is a fascination that toddlers have with taking off their clothes. Now, let’s see if we can get them to put the clothes back on. Threading buttons, zipping zippers, and pulling up pants require the use of the pointer finger and thumb exclusively. This helps toddlers to move onto other fine motor skills requiring the use of just these fingers.
Creating is the most important part of a child’s world. They are always in a state of imaginative expression. You can increase fine motor skills and give their imagination an outlet by making necklaces and bracelets. You don’t have to use just beads. Macaroni, cereal, or cut up pieces of straw can all come together to create jewelry. By having your child thread the string through the “beads” of the necklace they are increasing concentration and fine motor skills by focusing on the use of one, or two fingers, and the thumb.
- Color (with broken crayons)
What kid doesn’t love to scribble all over a blank page in the endless pursuit of expression? So, why not increase their fine motor skills as well. Most toddlers inevitable break their crayons because they bear down to hard. This works out well because in order to color with broken crayons toddlers have to use just one, or two fingers, and the thumb. This repetitive minute grasping builds hand strength and dexterity.
- Cutting up paper
There are several activities that require the cutting of paper. You can make paper dolls, snowflakes, paper houses, or clothes. This up and down motion requires the whole hand and wrist. It builds hand strength and precision as children become more accurate with their cuts.
- Finger Painting
Sit them down, pour out the paint, and watch the magic happen as art is brought to life. This activity builds fine motor skills by allowing the children to paint freely and curl their fingers to make different designs. It also perpetuates circular motion which is vitally important for building fine motor skills.
These are just a few activities to develop your toddler’s fine motor skills. It is one of the most important activities that the toddlers at Little Learners Child care can engage in.
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