“Teachers open the door, but you must enter by yourself.”
Earlier we discussed gross motor skills, so it’s only fair that we talk about fine motor skills. So what are they? Fine motor skills refer to the small movements of the hands, wrists, fingers, feet, toes, lips, and tongue.
During infancy, fine motor movements remain unconscious reflex actions. Baby’s grips are clumsy and everything they touch usually ends up in their mouths. It isn’t until they reach about 12 months that they begin to master the pincer grip, an important fine motor skill that develops the ability to hold objects between the thumb and index finger.
Fine motor skills are largely developed during toddlerhood and preschool. Toddlers begin to develop the abilities to twist dials, pull strings, turn pages, use crayons, and much more. By the time they reach preschool, they are challenged with more delicate tasks like tying shoelaces.
Unlike gross motor skills, which call for boundless energy, fine motor skills require patience, which is in shorter supply. It’s crucial that you encourage the development of fine motor skills in your child’s life. Weakness in fine motor skills can affect their ability to eat, write legibly, turn pages in a book, or even dress and groom themselves.
Educational Insights has a few early skill development toys and games specifically designed to strengthen these crucial skills. The Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel Game!™ is one in particular that helps children develop fine motor skills while learning to match colors and count. (Pictured above)
There are many ways to have fun with fine motor skills; it all just depends on how you and your child use your noggin!
Although Children’s health month is coming to an end soon, it doesn’t mean that the fun should stop! We highly encourage that you continue to get your kids active and working on those gross motor skills!
What are gross motor skills? Gross motor skills are the abilities required in order to control the large muscles of the body that are used for walking, running, sitting, crawling and other activities.
They develop over a relatively short period of time, with most of the development occurring during childhood. Encouraging gross motor skills simply requires a safe, open play space, peers to interact with and some adult supervision.
There are a number of activities parents can have children do to help develop gross motor skills. These include:
- Activities that encourage balancing (jump rope, hop scotch)
- Activities that develop hand-eye or foot-eye coordination (baseball, football, soccer—anything that involves catching, kicking or throwing a ball)
- Hopping with a small object in-between their knees and jumping forwards, backwards and sideways.