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Activities to Build Fine Motor Skills for Your Child

Fine motor skills are extremely important for your young child. These motor skills help your child be able to do daily tasks such as zipping a zipper, buttoning, tying their shoes, writing, using scissors, and picking up objects using either hand. These may sound like simple tasks, but without fine motor skills, these tasks can be difficult.

Read on for activities you can do with your child to build fine motor skills. 

Tear Paper

This may not sound like much, but tearing paper can be a fun activity for your child to do. Show your child how to hold the paper between their first fingers and thumbs and how to tear the paper. Allow your child to tear as much paper as they would like and into smaller pieces. 

The tearing of the paper and holding the paper between the fingers improves fine motor skills and so does picking up the pieces to tear them further.

With the torn paper, you can have your child create a collage using a piece of construction paper and a glue stick. Using the glue stick and arranging the paper can both improve fine motor skills.

Use Scissors

Scissor practice can also help improve fine motor skills. Show your child how to properly hold the scissors with the thumb always on top. Have your child practice opening and closing the scissors like an alligator.

Then give your child paper to cut. To start, have your child cut any way they like. After some practice, make lines on the paper for your child to follow with the scissors. You can help hold the paper at first, but then have your child hold the paper themselves.

Play With Clay

Clay may be a bit messy, but playing with clay is a great way to build fine motor skills. Have your child roll out the clay with their hands or placing a small amount in the palm and rolling it into a ball.  

Give your child different tools to make something with the clay or to press into the clay such as buttons (with supervision), straws, or toys made for use with clay.

String Beads

Create some necklaces and bracelets using string and larger beads or wooden blocks with holes in them, or you can use straws cut into smaller sizes and yarn. Encourage your child to hold both objects themselves to create something all their own.

Shoelaces strung through a paper or foam plate is another way to do this project. Poke holes in the plate and have your child sew the shoelace into the plate.

Separate Pom Poms

Give your child some small tongs or a clothespin and a bowl of fluffy pom poms in different colors. Have your child use the tongs (or clothespin) to separate the colors into different bowls. The pincer grasp will help develop fine motor skills and strengthen the muscles in the hand which can help when you teach your child pencil grasp.

This activity can also help teach colors to your child at the same time. Have your child say the colors as the pom poms are taken out of the bowl.

Finger Painting

Give your child finger paint and a piece of construction paper to create a painting. Encourage your child to use different colors, color the entire paper, and mix or blend colors.

If you don't want to use paint, you can use shaving cream in a plastic bag with some paint. Have your child mix the shaving cream and the paint together in the bag and write or draw with their fingers to make shapes or letters. This is a non-messy way to finger paint.

Fine motor skills are extremely important in the growth of your child and can prepare your child for writing and other daily activities your child is going to need to know. For other fine motor skill building activities, talk to one of the teachers at Riviera Children's Center.

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