The foundation of learning is rooted in fine motor skills. This includes being able to write, use scissors, and manipulate small objects. You can aid in this development by having simple items on hand such as dry pasta, tissue paper, playdough, buttons, and rice that will keep your preschooler’s mind and fingers working together! Try some of these simple activities at home:
- Involve your child in the kitchen and task them with measuring and stirring. Children will learn to scoop, pour, and stir using spoons and measuring cups. Not only does this boost motor skills, but fosters confidence in your child as he or she discovers that you value their help.
- Create a sensory bin by partially filling a container with rice or sand, then burying small items such as buttons, coins, small toys, and macaroni. Encourage your child to dig for the items with a spoon and remove them from the bin with a clothespin.
- Purchase safety scissors and allow your child to practice cutting different kinds of paper. Supply him or her with newspaper, recycled printer paper, and tissue paper. The different materials will help your child determine a sense of pressure and cutting strength when using different types of paper. Also, be sure to help your child focus on gripping the scissors correctly.
- Draw large, simple shapes on recycled paper and have your child tear the paper along the shape’s edges. This will also foster fine motor skills, concentration, and shape identification.
- Find some string and large beads for your preschooler to thread. This will not only help boost their fine motor skills, but provides a great teaching moment for identifying colors, shapes, and patterns. An alternative to this exercise is to punch holes into a paper plate and number the holes with a marker. Have your child numerically thread a long piece of string through the corresponding holes.
- Create a sensory board to help your child learn to open and close specific items. Incorporating shoelaces, velcro strips, clothing zippers, and other materials will help him or her acclimate to getting dressed and tying shoes by themselves.
- Encourage your child to draw and color. The more exposure to holding a writing utensil, the more prepared your child will be for learning to write with a pencil. As with scissors, ensure that your child is gripping the writing utensils correctly.
When focusing on fine motor skills, your child is not only preparing his or herself to write in the classroom, but is also engaging creatively with different shapes and colors. For more fine motor tips, reference THE FAIRMONT FIVE: Developing Fine Motor Skills or visit the Fairmont Early Childhood Education Pinterest board!
Contributed by Rebecca Stokes, Fairmont Private Schools