Play is such an important part of your toddler’s development and encouraging fine motor skills. You may think that building their block tower so methodically, knocking it down and ending up in hysterics is just fun and games – but it’s so much more than that!
What are fine motor skills?
Fine motor skills are movements that involve the coordination of small muscles in the hands, fingers, feet and toes. Children will use their fine motor skills to participate in smaller actions such as picking up objects between the thumb and finger, writing carefully and eventually developing coordination.
Why are fine motor skills important?
Fine motor skills are essential to learning and completing tasks such as writing, cutting, using a fork or spoon, threading beads, moving puzzle pieces, zipping, buttoning, brushing teeth, opening lunch boxes – the list goes on!
The best ways for your toddler to develop fine motor skills Have you ever come around the corner to find your toddler completely pulling apart the Tupperware cupboard? Despite the mess, this is actually a great way for them to build their fine motor skills. This type of play and manipulation will actually help prepare a child to use a crayon to draw, and eventually write. Both are critical skills for preschool and kindergarten classrooms.
It’s important to find activities that whilst strengthening your toddler’s fine motor skills, also encourage their confidence. The more praise they get, the more likely they are to continue engaging in the activities you suggest. Look for opportunities throughout the day for your child to practice small movements with their fingers.
Simple activities to encourage fine motor skills:
- Shape sorting
- Pasting things onto paper
- Dressing themselves
- Building a tower out of blocks or large lego pieces
- Colouring & drawing
- Getting creative with Play-Doh
- If your child is at daycare or preschool, it’s always a good idea to ask their teacher how they are progressing with their fine motor skills.