As a preschool teacher, I am constantly seeking ways to promote fine motor skills through fun, playful, hands on activities.
Fine motor skills, skills that require control of small muscles in the hands, are essential for performing everyday tasks. Many of your child’s daily activities, like writing with a pencil, eating with a fork, cutting with scissors, opening lunch boxes, buttoning their pants, etc. require the use of these small muscles.
Fine motor exercises help develop coordination of small muscle movements in wrists and fingers. They build up strength and assist with hand-eye coordination.
Here is one of the activities I put out for children 3-4 years old the other day, and be on the lookout for more fine motor activities to come!
-Play dough (the best play dough recipe)
-Containers for marbles and golf tees
First I showed the children how to shape their play dough. Let them do this, because play dough is a wonderful fine motor exercise. Their’s will not look as perfect, but it’s okay as long as it does it’s purpose, which is to hold up the golf tees.
Next, have them push a few golf tees into the play dough. Again, it won’t look as perfect. In fact, some of their golf tees might be leaning. The child will however quickly learn and figure out that the marble will not balance onto the tee if it’s not straight.
Notice how the children are using their pincer grasp or pincer grip. The pincer grasp is being able to hold objects between the thumb and any of the fingers. Strengthening these muscles will help your little one when they start school to be able to hold a pencil to draw and write using a strong ‘pincer grip’.
And the surprise creation is…. a hedgehog! I love when the items (or loose parts as we like to call them in a reggio inspired preschool) I put out for the children inspire them to create something totally unexpected!
I hope you enjoyed our fine motor activity today. Stay tuned…there’s more to come!