Jun 26 , 2020

The Best Ways to Build Fine Motor Skills In Toddlers

In this day and age crunching numbers and memorizing facts are seen as keys to a good future. It isn’t strange to see alphabet posters at home or math toys for sale considering that many parents are eager to help their kids get ahead in school. While there’s certainly nothing wrong with making learning at home fun, it’s also important not to forget about nurturing a child’s physical talents.

Fine motor skills refer to our ability to use the smaller muscle groups in our hands, fingers, wrists, feet, and toes. Unlike gross motor skills, which are mainly used for large movements like walking and crawling, fine motor skills help us accomplish smaller and more delicate movements like using eating utensils, sewing, writing, buttoning up clothes, and so on.

The ability to write letters, draw, and play using fine motor skills is a crucial part of early learning. A child who can recite the alphabet or add won’t get to benefit much from daycare if he isn’t able to comfortably hold pencils and crayons or play games using his hands and feet. Good fine motor skills are also crucial to brushing, bathing, and doing other forms of self-care. Here are some fun and effective ways to nurture and develop your child’s fine motor skills at home.

1. Build, mold, create!

Building castles, molding clay balls and creating all kinds of unique objects are great ways to enhance not just your child’s fine motor skills, but also their sense of abstract thinking and creativity. When kids pick up tiny LEGO pieces or roll clay around in their hands, they gradually learn fine movements like grasping and pulling. Molding and crafting things also ensures that your child’s hand muscles become strong enough to handle tasks like writing and drawing later on.

There are several fun toys and tools you can use to nurture your child’s imagination, creativity, and fine motor skills. Nontoxic clay and finger paints, building blocks, and even art materials like glue and construction paper are great choices for eager toddlers and preschool-aged kids. Feel free to impart your love of the Star Wars mythos while creating new worlds with your little one or better yet, relax and watch them craft their own unique universes. The possibilities are endless!

2. Fill, dig, and load

Toddlers will have an unusual fascination with loading and unloading toy boxes, as well as picking up and dropping anything that catches their eye. While it may seem like your child is simply making a mess, filling and loading things helps them build concentration, improve hand-eye coordination, and learn cognitive skills like spatial awareness.

One of the best ways to improve your child’s filling and loading abilities is to garden with them. You can teach your child how to put seeds in a pot or let them dig small holes using a trowel. While your little one has fun in the garden he can learn skills like picking up and grasping things, enhance his hand-eye coordination, and be filled with a newfound appreciation for nature.

3. Draw, paint, and color fun art pieces

At around 15 months your little one will be able to grasp and play around with a crayon. By age 2, he or she will be able to scribble. When your child is ready to draw or scribble on paper, you can encourage them to draw fun art pieces. This enhances their hand-eye coordination and ability to focus, as well as their skill at controlling their wrists and hands. You can also try making chalk drawings in your drive way or do paint-by-numbers to better nurture their creative skills and passion for art.

4. Use cutting, cooking, and eating utensils

Eating with utensils is a skill that many young toddlers sometimes struggle with. During mealtime, let your child learn how to pick up and carry food using a spoon and fork. Remember to give your little one space and allow them to figure out how to use utensils on their own. Your child will be able to master eating with a spoon and fork in no time.

You can also come up with games where your child builds his smaller muscles and motor skills using various utensils. For instance, let your child transfer grapes from one bowl to another using a pair of tweezers. You can also teach your child how to pick up coal, pasta, and bigger objects using kitchen tongs.

Another great way to build fine motor skills and creativity is to let your child use safety scissors. Cutting various shapes helps them strengthen their hand muscles and improves their ability to concentrate. Let your imaginations run wild and cut any wonky shape you can think of!

5. Play with both hands

Your toddler will want to build and play with both his hands instead of only relying on the right or left. Try to come up with games and activities that will allow your child to pick up, throw, wave, and use objects with both hands. For example, encourage your child to lift a bucket with both his right and left hands while he’s in the sandbox. Toss and throw soft plushies together, or sing and dance to nursery rhymes.