Fine motor strength and endurance are key for successful handwriting and self-help skills.
Here are some fun ways to incorporate fine motor strengthening activities into your child’s routine.
- Clothespins: Use clothespins to move game pieces during board games. Try different types of clips: chip clips, wooden clothespins, plastic clothespins, office clips etc., for more (or less) of a challenge.
- Spray Bottles: Spray bottles can provide year-round fun. Let your child paint on the driveway with water. Have him draw a picture with markers and spray it with water to make it “melt” into the sink. In the winter, mix in a few drops of food coloring and let your child paint the snow. In the summer, hang sponges outside and spray at the targets.
- Turkey Baster: Have a turkey baster race. You’ll need a turkey baster and some cotton balls or pompoms. Have your child lay on his belly on the floor and army crawl as he uses two hands to squeeze the bulb of the baster to blow on the cotton ball and push it across the floor. Use a stopwatch to see who can get to the finish line the quickest, or use two basters and go head-to-head. You can add obstacles, like toilet paper tubes or pillows for more of a challenge.
- Scrap Paper Basketball: Cut up small pieces of scrap paper (or better yet, have your child cut them up!), then show your child how to crumple the paper using one hand. This works on strengthening the intrinsic muscles of the hand. See who can score the most points shooting the balled-up pieces into a laundry basket or trashcan.
- Hole Punch: Show your child how to slide paper into a hand-held hole punch and create holes in paper. Place small stickers or print small clip art images on long strips of paper for your child to aim at when punching holes. Make your own lacing cards by cutting out a silhouette on construction paper and drawing dots along the border for your child to punch out, then lace with a piece of yarn.
- Play-Doh and Clay: Make creations out of clay or play doh. Use cookie cutters to press into the clay, scissors to cut the clay or Play-Doh tools to manipulate the clay. There is even a clay-like material available from craft stores that can be used as an eraser after it is baked in the oven.