10 ways to improve your child’s fine motor skills (2022)

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

10 ways to improve your child’s fine motor skills (1)

You wake up, check your phone, eat some breakfast, make and pack some lunches, button your shirt or blouse, zip your pants, brush your teeth, comb your hair, pull on some socks, tie your shoe laces, turn the car key. So many things we do each day require fine motor skills that it's easy to take them for granted and forget how vital they are.


What are fine motor skills?

Fine motor skills involve the use of small muscles in our hands, wrists, fingers, feet and toes.Fine motor skills involvethe movements of small muscles that require your child's brain to coordinate between the action and what they are seeing. Fine motor skillscan impact things like holding a fork to eat or using a pencil to write.

Fine motor skills start to develop when a child uses the smaller muscles in their hands, wrists, fingers, feet and toes. Developing those muscles includesactions like grasping, holding, pressing, or using a pincer grip (holding something between the fore-finger and thumb).

For young children of preschool, kindergarten and early school age, fine motor skill development is extremely important. For a fun way to improve your child's motor skills when it's rainy outside, try making one of these 7 things with them.


Why are fine motor skills important?Fine motor skills are vital for doing everyday activities like buttoning up a shirt, using utensils to eat, tying shoelaces, cutting with scissors and writing. As adults, we use fine motor skills so often in our daily lives that it’s easy to not realise that the task we are completing requires a certain skill set and the use of certain muscles.

If a young child is unable to do these everyday tasks, it can affect their self-confidence, ability to develop self-care and independence skills, and also their academic performance.

Below you'll find 10 ways to improve your child's fine motor skills. Once you have learned these 10 ways we recommend next reading about the important benefits of pretend play for young kids. You can out those benefits here.

(Video) Improving your child's fine motor and gross motor skills

10 ways parents can help children develop and improve their fine motor skillsThese 10 techniques are especially effective for teaching pre-school or kindergarten aged children fine motor skills, but they are also necessary and useful for younger and older children's motor skill development.

10 ways to improve your child’s fine motor skills (3)

Parents can encourage and help kids to improve their fine motor skills with simple, fun activities. If you’re stuck for ideas, try a few of the activities below.

1. Play-dough

Tactile play with good old favorite materials like play-dough is a great way for kids to experiment and build fine motor skills. To make this even more interesting you could make the play-dough with your child first before they play with it. Here's a video that shows you how to make your own play-dough.

10 ways to improve your child’s fine motor skills (4)

2. Puzzles

Do puzzles together. Picking up and moving puzzle pieces into place helps develop pincer grasp.

Watching or helping your child learn how to complete a puzzles can sometimes be frustrating, they can be impatient and give up easily, lose pieces or put them in their mouth. But if you stick with it the rewards are worth it. Engage with and encourage your child as much as you can to compete easy puzzles at first and then progressively harder one's, doing this will improve their hand - eye skills, co-ordination and motor skills.

Watching the smile and sense of satisfaction that your child will get from completing a puzzle provides tremendous satisfactionfor parents.

See the top rated puzzles for kids here.


3. Drawing, colouring in and painting

Encourage your child to draw and paint. This helps not only their fine motor skills, but also creativity and imagination too. Try different types of painting and different mediums, like crayons, chalk, finger paints, brush painting or charcoal, to spark their interest and strengthen your child’s hand-eye coordination. Painting with a paint brush helps kids learn to hold a brush and gain greater control using things in their hands including pencils and other items. Paint-by-number can be an excellent form of brush painting for young children, Faber-Castell do an excellent version here.

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10 ways to improve your child’s fine motor skills (5)

4. Using kitchen tongs or tweezersCreate a game for kids can using a small pair of kitchen tongs or tweezers to pick up some small objects like sultanas, grapes, pasta, and buttons, coins into a bowl.

5. Cutting with scissors

Using scissors is a great way to strengthen fine motor skills as well as improve hand-eye coordination and concentration. You can draw shapes for your child to cut around. Make some paper snowflakes. Even cut play-dough. Make sure you use age appropriate scissors.

Why not try making this fine motor skills man with your child. Here's how.

10 ways to improve your child’s fine motor skills (6)

6. Bath time play

Use cups to fill and pour out, sponges or squeaky rubber toys to squeeze. Try not to stress about water going on the floor, you can always wipe it up afterwards.

10 ways to improve your child’s fine motor skills (7)

7. Sand play

Like bath time play, using cups to fill and pour and out is fantastic fun and also encourages sensory development. Scoop and dig with spoons. Use moulds. Draw pictures and build things. If you’re inside, magic or kinetic sand is a great alternative.

8. Build with blocks and Lego

Stack, connect and build things together with blocks and Lego. These activities encourage fine pushing and pulling movements. Lego is also great for fostering creativity. Building with LEGO is an effective way to work and develop your child's fine motor skills. As children build and even pick up LEGO pieces they will, build stronger muscles in their hands and improve co-ordination, this will help them to improve with other skills, such as learning to hold a pencil and learning to write.

Other skills children can learn from playing with Lego include persistence, a sense of accomplishment and an improved ability to solve puzzles.

(Video) 10 Fine motor activities for toddlers |10 activities to boost fine motor skills | Fine Motor Skills

10 ways to improve your child’s fine motor skills (8)

9. Eye dropper tests



Put some water a few glasses. Pour a few drops of food colouring in each glass, so that you have different coloured water in each glass. Have a couple of empty bowls and glasses where kids can use an eye dropper to experiment with mixing different coloured water together. Try using vinegar instead of water, and have a bowl of bicarbonate soda that will fizz up when the coloured vinegar is dropped in.

10. Threading and lacing

Thread different size pasta or beads onto strings, laces and pipe cleaners. Tie knots and bows in the string. Finger knitting is easy and fun too!

Learning to brush teeth is good for your child's motor development

It can be difficult to teach young children to brush their own teeth, especially to get them to brush properly, but doing so will help their find motor skill development. Click here to learn 10 ways to improve your child's teeth hygiene and improve their teeth brushing competency.

What to do if you’re concerned

Issues with coordination and balance may not be noticeable until kids reach school age. But if you’re concerned about your child’s gross motor skills, we have Children’s Occupational Therapists who can help. Our specialists support pre-school kids and their families to develop basic sensory awareness and motor skills to help them with self-care skills and get ready for school. Call 9028 0153 to make an appointment.

About Inspiro

Inspiro is a local, non-profit community health service that provides dental, dietetics / nutrition, podiatry, physiotherapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, diabetes education, counselling, exercise physiology, social and family support services from our Lilydale, Belgrave and Healesville clinics and various community venues.

We have dentists to look at your teeth, health professionals to help get you moving and active, health services for children and older people, support if you are living with ongoing illness, podiatrists to look at your feet, someone to talk to about your mental health, and many other services to help you reach your own health goals.

See our range of health advice from our local clinicians here.


Locations

INSPIRO LILYDALE: 17 Clarke St, Lilydale

INSPIRO BELGRAVE: 1616-1624 Burwood Highway, Belgrave

INSPIROHEALESVILLE: 333 Maroondah Hwy, Healesville

(Video) 10 STACKING ACTIVITIES | Parent & Professionals Guide to Improve Fine Motor Skills | Stacking Games

Call us on 03 9028 0153

Inspiro local services forkids andand young adults

Inspiro offers a range of services for kids and young adults including:

1.Free youth and family counsellingInspiro provides a free youth counselling service for young people aged between 12 to 25 years who live, work or study in the Yarra Ranges. Our counsellors help young people who may be dealing with depression, anxiety, bullying, harassment or difficult relationships, to gain the confidence and skills to do things differently.

2.Space4Us:A peer support program for young people age 13 to 18 years, who have a family member with a mental illness.

3.Autism Spectrum Kids:

A social development skills program for young people age 12 - 17 years on the Autism Spectrum,

4.Occupational therapy for children

Child occupational therapists support children to become more independent in everyday activities. Our therapistshelp children with hand skills(holding a pencil, cutting),body skills (balancing, catching a ball)and self-care skills (dressing, toileting and sleeping). They can also help if a child has trouble with concentration or managing the information they receive through their senses.

5.Speech therapyfor children (and adults)

Inspiro provides speech therapy for children. We are based in Belgrave and Lilydale. Our Children's Speech Therapist works with children aged up to school entry who are experiencing speech related problems.

These may include articulation (speech sounds); fluency (stuttering); use of expressive language; and understanding language.

6.Free dental care for children age 12 and under

Give your child the best start in life with good dental care. It will help protect their teeth for decades to come and help prevent painful fillings and costly special dental work.

10 ways to improve your child’s fine motor skills (10)


Inspiro provideschild paediatric occupational speech therapy and child and paediatric occupational therapyto the outer east and outer south eastern suburbs of Melbourne including but not limited to: Badger Creek, Bayswater, Bayswater North, Belgrave, Belgrave Heights, Belgrave South, Boronia, Chirnside Park, Coldstream, Croydon North, Croydon, Croydon Hills, East Warburton, Emerald, Ferny Creek, Healesville, Heathmont, Hoddles Creek, Kallista, Kalorama, Kilsyth South, Kilsyth, Launching Place, Lilydale, Lysterfield, Macclesfield, Menzies Creek, Millgrove, Monbulk, Montrose, Mooroolbark, Mount Dandenong, Mount Evelyn, Narre Warren East, Olinda, Ringwood, Ringwood North, Sassafras, Selby, Seville, Seville East, Silvan, Tecoma, The Patch, The Basin, Tremont, Upper Ferntree Gully, Upwey, Wandin, Wandin North, Warrandyte South, Warranwood, Warburton, Wesburn, Wonga Park, Woori Yallock, Yarra Valley, Yarra Glen, Yarra Junction and Yellingbo.

FAQs

How can I improve my child's fine motor skills? ›

Help Your Child Build Fine Motor Skills
  1. Set the table.
  2. Hold knives, forks, and spoons to eat.
  3. Pour juice into a cup.
  4. Wipe the table with a sponge.
  5. Help with meals—stir, shake, chop, cut, and mix.
  6. Get dressed—button, zip, snap, buckle, and fasten.
  7. Use Velcro tabs.
  8. Open and close containers with lids.

How can a 10 year old improve fine motor skills? ›

If your child's fine motor skills need a little extra help, try these fun activities.
  1. Play-dough and putty. Play-dough and putty are often used as part of the heavy work component of a sensory diet. ...
  2. Painting. ...
  3. Playing with sponges. ...
  4. Rice races. ...
  5. Water play. ...
  6. Gardening and planting.

How can teachers help children develop fine motor skills? ›

Play-based learning

Other toys in the classroom can include shape sorters, Duplos or large Legos, puzzles and musical instruments. Anything that encourages students to use their hands and fingers in the classroom can help develop these skills.

What are 5 fine motor skills? ›

Examples of Fine Motor Skills
  • Dialing the phone.
  • Turning doorknobs, keys, and locks.
  • Putting a plug into a socket.
  • Buttoning and unbuttoning clothes.
  • Opening and closing zippers.
  • Fastening snaps and buckles.
  • Tying shoelaces.
  • Brushing teeth and flossing.
25 Oct 2021

What is fine motor skills in children? ›

Fine motor skills involve small muscles working with the brain and nervous system to control movements in areas such as the hands, fingers, lips, tongue and eyes. Developing fine motor skills helps children do things like eating, writing, manipulating objects and getting dressed.

What are fine motor skills activities? ›

Fine motor skills involve the use of the smaller muscle of the hands, commonly in activities like using pencils, scissors, construction with lego or duplo, doing up buttons and opening lunch boxes.

What fine motor skills might a ten year old have? ›

Fine Motor
  • Adult-type tools can be used, such as saws and hammers. Children can construct simple structures with wood and sew basic garments.
  • Handwriting becomes more fluid, automatic and less of an effort.
  • Writing speed increases.
  • Writing can occur well without ruled lines.

What fine motor skills should a 8 year old have? ›

Fine motor skills: 7–8 years old
  • They can draw a realistic scene that includes details and proper proportions. ...
  • They can cut out complex shapes that have angles and curves.
  • They can reproduce simple folds like those used to make origami.
  • They're learning to write in cursive, a skill they'll start to master by age 8.

What fine motor skills should a 6 year old have? ›

Fine Motor Development Checklist
AgeSkill
6-7 yearsCutting neatly around shapes.
Completing a 20pc puzzle.
Holding a pencil with a 3 fingered grasp and generate movement from fingers (not wrist).
Writing on the lines.
99 more rows

Why is it important to develop fine motor skills? ›

Fine motor skills help children perform important tasks such as feeding themselves, grasping objects, and writing. The ability to accomplish self-care and everyday tasks by using fine motor skills helps a child's self-esteem and confidence grow.

How can you support fine motor skills in the classroom? ›

Strengthen hand grasp by using a hole-punch, making paper balls and squeezing sponges. Spraying with trigger type spray bottles. Provide opportunities for practicing timed grasp and release with tools other than scissors. Try using tweezers or tongs to sort cotton balls, blocks, play dough or balls.

Which strategies are best for teaching motor skills? ›

Strategies to Support Gross Motor Skills in the Classroom
  • Make it Routine. Add gross motor skills and physical activity within the normal routine of the classroom. ...
  • Accessibility. ...
  • Differentiate. ...
  • Offer frequent, brief motor breaks. ...
  • Provide movement and learning opportunities.
5 Jul 2018

What are the 10 motor skills? ›

Our top ten are pushing, climbing, bending, throwing, scooping, crawling, kicking, bouncing, dancing, and scooting. They are ways that sometimes we burn off energy and other times we use to stay engaged and entertained.

What are the 3 fine motor skills? ›

Fine motor skills are finger and hand skills such as writing, cutting, opening lunch boxes, and tying shoelaces.

What is an example of a fine skill? ›

Fine skills involve precise movements using small muscle groups. These movements are performed with great detail and generally involve high levels of hand-eye coordination. A snooker shot or the hand movements when throwing a dart are examples of fine skills.

How do you test a child's fine motor skills? ›

Give your child a collection of several small items and have him transfer them to separate containers. Your child's fine motor skills are probably on track if he is able to use his fingers to grab small objects, such as pennies or beads and move them into a small cup.

How do children develop motor skills? ›

As young children grow, they develop the ability to control their body. They begin by developing large muscle coordination like holding up their head, crawling, and walking (gross motor skills). Then they begin to master more precise movements like speaking clearly and writing (fine motor skills).

Is speech a fine motor skill? ›

Speech is the finest, fine motor skill we have. Think about the intricacies required for saying the multisyllabic word “buttercup”. To say this word, your lips come together for /b/. Next, the tip of your tongue touches the area just behind your top front teeth for /t/.

Is reading a fine motor skill? ›

Highlights: While reading with your little one helps with language development, it's also an opportunity to practice fine motor skills. Books support fine motor development through: Turning pages.

Which of the following is an example of a fine motor skill? ›

Fine motor skills involve finer hand control or the ability to manipulate smaller objects with the hands and fingers, for example, grasping, holding a pen/pencil, writing, painting, or pinching.

What is the fine motor skills of primary school age child? ›

Between the ages of 5-7 years, your child will:

Use one hand consistently for fine motor tasks. Learn to print letters and numbers, and then words. By 7 years, keep printing neatly within the lines. Cut out art projects, staying on the lines.

What are examples of motor skills? ›

Examples of gross motor skills include sitting, crawling, running, jumping, throwing a ball, and climbing stairs. Even the first time a baby lifts his head is an example of a gross motor skill. There are lots of fun and simple activities you can do with your child to help develop gross motor skills.

How do fine motor skills develop by the age of 2? ›

Between the age of 1 and 2 years old your child will be getting better at using those little hands and fingers to stack things and manipulate objects using both hands in a coordinated way. Encourage two-handed activities to help your toddler practice these fine motor skills.

What age are fine motor skills developed? ›

Children usually begin to acquire these skills as early as 1 or 2 months old and continue to learn additional skills through preschool and early elementary school.

Which four fine motor skills can you expect of a toddler? ›

Fine motor skills engage the smaller muscles in the hands and fingers so a child can grasp, hold, grip and pinch. For example, picking up food, holding a pencil or buttoning up a shirt all involve fine motor skills.

What fine motor skills should a 5 year old have? ›

Normal fine motor development for 5-year-olds includes the following skills: Picks up and handles tiny objects. Builds 3 steps with 6 blocks, or 4 steps with 10 blocks, when shown. Cuts out simple shapes.

Why does my child have poor fine motor skills? ›

Causes of fine motor delay

In some cases, fine motor delay could be a sign of autism or some other physical, cognitive, or developmental condition. Premature babies often exhibit fine motor delay, as well as children with Down syndrome, muscular dystrophy, or cerebral palsy.

What motor skills should a 7 year old have? ›

At this stage, children typically:
  • Refine coordination of large and small muscles.
  • Refine hand-eye coordination.
  • Will be able to draw and write with greater control and precision.
  • Move in time to the beat or rhythm of music.
  • Ride a two-wheel bike.
  • Learn important swimming skills.
  • Have better balance and coordination.

Can fine motor skills be improved? ›

Including a fun fine motor activity in your child's daily routine is a great way to help them improve their fine motor coordination. Printable activities can naturally engage children's creativity and manual dexterity.

Why does my child have poor fine motor skills? ›

Causes of fine motor delay

In some cases, fine motor delay could be a sign of autism or some other physical, cognitive, or developmental condition. Premature babies often exhibit fine motor delay, as well as children with Down syndrome, muscular dystrophy, or cerebral palsy.

What age are fine motor skills developed? ›

Children usually begin to acquire these skills as early as 1 or 2 months old and continue to learn additional skills through preschool and early elementary school.

Why are fine motor skills so important? ›

Fine motor skills help children perform important tasks such as feeding themselves, grasping objects, and writing. The ability to accomplish self-care and everyday tasks by using fine motor skills helps a child's self-esteem and confidence grow.

How do you test fine motor skills? ›

The Nine-Hole Peg Test (9HPT or NHPT)

The Nine-Hole Peg Test is performed with one hand at a time. The client uses that hand to move all of the pegs individually from the container, to the board, and back. Fine motor dexterity is measured with this test. Testing Equipment: 9 pegs, a pegboard with 9 holes, stopwatch.

What are examples of motor skills? ›

Examples of gross motor skills include sitting, crawling, running, jumping, throwing a ball, and climbing stairs. Even the first time a baby lifts his head is an example of a gross motor skill. There are lots of fun and simple activities you can do with your child to help develop gross motor skills.

How do I make my child more coordinated? ›

Exercises that improve your child's coordination - YouTube

What are fine motor problems? ›

Some kids have trouble with what are called fine motor skills. These kids struggle to use their hands in tasks like using scissors or writing by hand. Other kids struggle with gross motor skills, which have to do with moving their bodies in space.

Is speech a fine motor skill? ›

Speech is the finest, fine motor skill we have. Think about the intricacies required for saying the multisyllabic word “buttercup”. To say this word, your lips come together for /b/. Next, the tip of your tongue touches the area just behind your top front teeth for /t/.

How do children develop motor skills? ›

As young children grow, they develop the ability to control their body. They begin by developing large muscle coordination like holding up their head, crawling, and walking (gross motor skills). Then they begin to master more precise movements like speaking clearly and writing (fine motor skills).

Is clapping gross or fine motor? ›

Some fine motor skills in older babies include clapping, waving, transferring small items from one hand to the other and banging toys together.

What fine motor skills should a 7 year old have? ›

Fine motor skills: 7–8 years old
  • They can draw a realistic scene that includes details and proper proportions. ...
  • They can cut out complex shapes that have angles and curves.
  • They can reproduce simple folds like those used to make origami.
  • They're learning to write in cursive, a skill they'll start to master by age 8.

What fine motor skills should a 5 year old have? ›

Fine Motor Development Checklist
AgeSkill
5-6 yearsColoring with in the lines.
Holding a pencil with a 3 fingered grasp and generating movement from fingers (not wrist).
Cut and paste projects.
Drawing basic pictures.
99 more rows

What fine motor skills should a 4 year old have? ›

Fine Motor 4 Years Old
  • Use a spoon or fork.
  • Tie shoes.
  • Button clothes.
  • Write his/her name.
  • Draw shapes.
  • Color inside the lines.
  • Hold a pencil correctly at the age appropriate time.

Videos

1. 10 ways to develop fine motor skills| Fine motor activity for 2 -4 years kids #Activityforkids
(Explore kids)
2. 10 Fine motor skills activities for kids Activities for handwriting | Games for toddlers |
(The Mother Teacher)
3. how to improve kids fine motor, problem solving skills.
(kids fun learning)
4. HOME ACTIVITIES TO IMPROVE YOUR CHILD'S FINE MOTOR SKILLS
(The Creative Teacher)
5. Easy At-Home Ideas for Building Your Child’s Fine Motor Skills
(SPED Homeschool)
6. How To Develop Your Child's Fine Motor Skills - 1 to 2 Year Olds
(Mom and Me Activities [M.A.M.A.])

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