Your preschooler’s hands each have 123 ligaments, 34 muscles, and 29 major and minor bones. With no muscles in the fingers themselves, your child’s hands develop fine motor skills by training the muscles in the forearm and palm. To increase manual dexterity, try these three preschool activities and watch your child’s fine motor skills, self-confidence, and creativity improve.
The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) recommends giving your child opportunities to assist with everyday tasks around the house. These sorts of helpful preschool activities contribute to the household while also improving fine motor skills:
- Stir, shake and mix food for meals
- Set the table
- Pour juice, milk or water into plastic cups
- Open and close jars and lidded containers
- Wipe down the table with a sponge after meals, then squeeze it out to dry
- Dress herself or himself, conquering zippers, buckles, buttons and snaps
You can track your child's progress by using a chore calendar. This helps you add age-appropriate chores when your child has outgrown simpler tasks.
A study by the American Journal of Occupational Therapy showed significant improvement in grip strength and fine motor skills among preschoolers who received weekly occupational therapy (OT). Your child may fortunately not need OT, but consider these preschool activities that allow for building up grip strength and gaining eye-hand coordination, from pediatric OT specialists at The Inspired Treehouse:
- Lego and Duplo building blocks
- Pop Toobs
- Hole punches
- Clothes pins
- Turkey basters
- Bubble wrap
At Kids Konnect we love making crafts with preschoolers. These preschool activities pay double dividends, because the kids take home a thoughtful gift for a loved one, but they also take home stronger hands and better fine motor skills. The experts at Understood.org provide these craft ideas:
- String a macaroni necklace
- Cut paper dolls
- Color with broken crayons (the short crayon encourages proper hand grip)
- Finger paint
The goal with all these preschool activities is to let your child have fun while also improving how the brain controls the muscles. As your child gets older, consider wooden puzzles, plastic models, flying model rockets, model trains and other precision toys that foster sure command of fingers.
What do you do to squeeze some fine motor skills into your child’s day? Get a grip on your ideas and share them with Kids Konnect, in the comments section below.