Many of a child’s daily tasks, such as dressing, opening a lunchbox, and using a pencil, need fine motor skills. Beginning with the raking finger grip and rattle grasp as a baby, these abilities gradually develop into more complicated abilities like handling scissors, using a computer mouse, and even playing an instrument. They need coordinated efforts from their fingers, hands, and eyes. Learn the value of these abilities and how to support your kid in developing them.
How do fine motor skills work?
The coordination of your child’s tiny muscles, such as those in their hands, wrists, and fingers in conjunction with their eyes, is referred to as fine motor abilities. The tiny muscles in the body that enable tasks like writing, holding tiny items or toys, and attaching garments are referred to as “fine motor abilities.” They also need dexterity, strength, and fine motor control.
Most educational activities and daily living in general require these abilities. A child’s ability to eat, write legibly, operate a computer, flip pages in a book, and take care of personal hygiene duties like clothing and grooming can all be impacted by poor fine motor skills.
Basics of Child Development:
Fine Motor Skills Milestones
Although every kid develops at a different rate, knowing about when they will achieve particular milestones can be helpful in determining whether or not your child is developing at a typical rate. Here are some general recommendations for the development of fine motor skills.
Infant to First Year
Numerous fine motor abilities will develop in your infant during the first year of life. For instance, by the time a baby is two months old, they can hold a rattle when it is placed in their hand. A newborn normally has a basic hand grip.
Babies can normally grasp a block with two hands and shake a rattle by the time they are 6 months old. The majority of infants start to show the raking pincer grip around 9 months, and by the time they are 12 months old, they have mastered it, can hold a bottle, and can drop a block into a cup.
Many infants can put various shapes into toys and stack two to three cups by the time they are 18 months old. Along with being able to feed themselves with their fingers, they should be able to draw with a crayon held in their fist. A child can often replicate a vertical line, handle a spoon, and stack six cups by the time they are two years old. Additionally, they are starting to learn how to help themselves get dressed.
2 to 3 years
Most kids start learning how to form circles and replicate a horizontal line between their second and third birthdays. They learn how to use a spoon and a fork as well as how to drink from an open cup. Children of this age are also capable of taking off their clothes, shoes and socks.
3 to 4 years
Preschoolers are honing their sketching abilities as they approach their fourth birthday. They ought to be able to sketch a two- to four-part human and reproduce a cross. They can dress themselves and are learning to cut paper, but they may still have trouble buttoning clothes.
Four to five years
A youngster should be able to replicate a square and create a 10-part human by the time they are five years old. Additionally, they probably have a better grasp on how to hold a pencil in the tripod position and can color inside the lines. Children of this age should be able to completely wash and dry their hands as well.
How to Develop Fine Motor Skills
Through routine tasks and playtime with activities that involve gripping, holding, and pushing, your child’s fine motor abilities will develop. Additionally, they will hone their pincer grasp via play, feeding, and eventually clothing themselves.
Your youngster will go to more difficult activities as they get older and develop their fine motor skills.They will learn how to use scissors, tie their shoes, fasten their buttons, write their names, open and shut plastic baggies, put a straw in a juice box, and open their lunchbox, for example.
Activities for Building Fine Motor Skills
You don’t need to do anything elaborate or purchase pricey toys to aid in your child’s development of fine motor skills. Most children may hone and develop their fine motor abilities via play and regular daily activities.
You may, for instance, ask your kid to assist you in the kitchen by cooking cookies, arranging the table, or pouring milk on their own. They can also exercise their fine motor skills by picking up objects with tweezers or by practicing wrapping rubber bands around a cup. Here are some more activities for honing fine motor abilities at home.
Games and Toys
Many toys, particularly those for newborns and toddlers, help kids develop their fine motor abilities. Puzzles and board games featuring pick-up-and-move pieces are excellent for teaching these skills to school-aged children. For instance, Jenga is a strategic game that focuses on the pincer grasp, which is important for writing, and employs fine motor skills.
Children in preschool and primary school benefit much from remote-control automobiles. Video games can be beneficial as well, but be aware of carpal tunnel syndrome. Check the video game ratings as well to be sure they are suitable for your youngster.
Drawing and Coloring
When you sketch with your kid using chalk, markers, crayons, or colored pencils, you may assist them in developing their fine motor skills. Scribbling is perfectly acceptable for improving fine motor skills, and drawings don’t have to be flawless.
Older kids like the cool element of Scratch Magic kits. Create one by drawing on paper in a variety of hues and forms, then covering the page in black crayon. Use a safety razor or an orange stick to scratch it off.
Paper-cutting exercises may be as basic or complicated as you choose, and they help develop motor skills and control. Cutting out paper chains is a good place for beginners to start before moving on to more difficult crafts.
Try origami, a fascinating paper-folding technique, for older children. To create origami shapes, use wrapping paper, construction paper, or other ornamental papers. Alternately, try the following projects with your youngster:
Make placemats and greeting cards.
Learn the Chinese art of Kirigami, which makes use of decorative paper cutting.
Make snowflakes with paper.
Try making a rainbow weave.
Together, create a collage.
Drawing with your fingers
Make clay sculptures.
Insufficiencies in Fine Motor Skills
There are certain telltale symptoms that your kid may struggle with fine motor skills, such as dropping objects frequently, having difficulties holding spoons, and having difficulty writing or using scissors. Even the inability to tie their shoes as they become older might be a sign that something is wrong. If you have concerns about your child’s development of fine motor skills, it’s crucial to approach your doctor to do an examination.
Talk to your kid’s teacher if your child has been diagnosed with fine motor deficiencies that might hinder their schooling. Alternatively, if your kid has an IEP, talk to the IEP team about the problem.
Message From Verywell
The majority of your child’s fine motor skill development will take place organically while they study and play. However, you may encourage the development of these abilities in your children by selecting games, toys, and activities that do so.
Consult your kid’s physician if you start to notice any delays or believe that your youngster is having trouble mastering these abilities. To ensure that your kid receives the assistance they require, early diagnosis and intervention are crucial.