How to help kids build fine motor skills?
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash
In order to use the small muscle groups in our hands, wrists, and fingers in a controlled way, we need fine motor skills. Having these skills is what gives us the ability to perform basic tasks, such as writing, eating, brushing our teeth, and getting dressed. Working on fine motor skills with kids helps to ensure that they will be capable of completing daily tasks, school work, and other activities successfully and independently.
Benefits of improving fine motor skills
Building fine motor skills has several main benefits including:
Develops hand-eye coordination
Since most hand movements require visual input to be successfully carried out, individuals need to be able to coordinate hand and eye movements. Helping kids master hand-eye coordination can help them be able to effectively place objects, write, draw, and play sporting games.
Refines ability to use tools
Kids need fine motor skills to handle small items, such as buttons or zippers, scissors, and writing instruments. Successfully being able to use tools will allow kids to perform more tasks on their own and become more independent.
Kids who understand how their bodies work and can do more things for themselves, such as getting dressed, drawing pictures, or printing letters, will feel more confident. The more tasks kids can complete without help, the more independent and self-confident they can become.
Promotes cognitive development
Some research suggests that fine motor skills are involved in the development of cognitive abilities and that improving fine motor skills in young children may help them succeed academically. Researches at the University of Nottingham School of Psychology found that fine motor skills were a significant predictor of math abilities in preschool students.
Using printable activities to build fine motor skills
Fun printable activities can engage kids and get them excited about working on improving their fine motor skills. The four summer-themed fine motor skill printable activities below from the University of St. Augustine involve coloring, cutting, tracing, and placing objects. All of these activities will help kids build the fine motor skills they need to succeed.
See animals coloring printable
This printable involves using instruments, such as crayons or markers, to color and scissors to cut out the sea animals. This activity helps build wrist stability, strengthen hand muscles, and improve hand-eye coordination.
Ice cream cone grid drawing printable
In addition to working on hand strength, grid drawing activities can help kids practice observational skills and better understand proportions.
Beach trip line tracing printable
This line tracing activity is great for kids who are just beginning to print their letters. Tracing helps kids strengthen the muscles they need to start writing.
Rainbow placement printable
This printable helps kids work on grasping and placing objects, which can be a valuable precursor to writing. This process strengthens the small muscles needed to hold and place objects, while also working on hand-eye coordination.