The secret to making fine motor skills activities for children fun


Fine motor skills activities for children are the best way to ensure proper development and practice of fine motor skills to promote the most functional use of a child’s hands.

Normal development demands that children are able to accurately and effectively use the small muscles (intrinsic muscles) in their hands. These intrinsic muscles will be used for the rest of their lives and for essential functional activities.

Childhood is the critical time to properly develop these muscles. I think you might be shocked (unless you are an OT) at how many children we, as Occupational Therapists, see in the schools and clinics every single day who have significant delays in fine motor skills. I must add that it is nobody’s fault. These are skills that simply may need some extra work to develop optimally.

The building of fine motor skills in children will enable them to perform a variety of important functional tasks. These include:

  • tying shoes
  • zipping and unzipping
  • buckling and unbuckling
  • writing legibly and without significant muscle fatigue
  • playing games that require precise hand and finger control
  • drawing, painting, and colouring
  • manipulating buttons and snaps
  • putting small objects together
  • doing puzzles
  • making crafts
  • using scissors
  • manipulating small objects such as coins
  • opening and closing objects
  • picking up and holding onto small objects
  • developing and maintaining an effective and proper pencil grip
  • pinching objects between fingers
  • using locks and keys
  • being able to isolate finger movements (i.e., using one finger at a time, such as in playing the piano or typing)
  • turning things over or turning pages of a book
  • holding and using utensils properly and effectively
  • screwing and unscrewing
  • doing ANYTHING that requires small precise hand and finger movements

Certainly, you can now see the importance of fine motor skills and the impact it would have if not developed properly! If your child is struggling to do any of these aforementioned activities and you are concerned that they may have poor fine motor skills, then it is time to practise, enhance, and evaluate these skills.

There is a very high correlation between children with sensory processing disorders and children with a delay in fine motor skills. It is often a big part of sensory integration therapy and one of the main reasons children are initially referred to an Occupational Therapist.

Properly Developed Fine Motor Skills Are Important To Every Day Living

The ability to complete functional activities that require these skills will follow you for your entire life. So, if you see signs of fine motor difficulties in any child, please address it with a teacher, Occupational Therapist, or through educating yourself on how to improve fine motor skills.

Speaking of improving fine motor skills, here is what you have been waiting for. Truthfully, you will see the greatest improvement through targeted activities that are practised, practised, and practised some more! True, that is the “therapy” of it but I always believe in making that targeted practice fun and varied! It really needs to be for the development of the various muscles, and so that the child does not get bored, frustrated, or resistant to engaging in these therapeutic, skill-building activities.

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