8 simple activities for enhancing motor skills
Simply put, motor skills develop the ability in kids to perform complex muscle and nerve acts that produce movements and coordination of the body. These skills include both fine and gross motor skills. In the early years, kids need to participate in a variety of activities to demonstrate control over their bodies, improve hand-eye coordination, balance, and thinking ability. This is a pre-requisite to grasping pencils and using tools like scissors etc, that they have to do in later years.
Below are 8 fun and inexpensive activities that you can do with your kids to stimulate their fine motor skills:
1. Stacking sticks
Stacking is a great activity to engage kids in, at an early age. It develops their concentration and visual focus and improves hand-eye coordination. You can use sticks, cards, blocks, paper cups or plates, etc., stuff that is usually lying around at home and help your kid build their foundation in the development of various skills.
2. Passing straws through holes in cardboard
This is another inexpensive, readily available and easy to set up an activity that your little one can do. All you need is cardboard, poke some holes in it and ask your little one to pass through a string, or a wire, or a straw, whatever you can find at home! A great way to develop your child’s visual and motor skills!
3. Picking objects using cloth pin:
This activity requires more fine motor skills than other ones. Make sure your child is ready for that. If they are getting easily frustrated, this is not for them! Find anything that they can pick up using cloth pins, for example, cotton balls, cards, beads, marbles, and let kids pick them up and put them in boxes or cups. You can make the activity more challenging by asking them to sort the objects by color or by shape.
4. Sorting by color:
Before kids can identify or name colors, they can sort by color. Until age 4, most kids are not expected to know basic colors, but they can identify objects of the same color, match them and group them together. One of the activities that we do with kids at an early age is sorting by color. While sorting, it is okay to reinforce colors by naming them, but don’t push your child if they are not ready to learn the names of the colors yet. Instead, keep reinforcing by saying things like: Wow, you put all the red ones together. Or, can you show me a red one? etc.
5. Playing with play-dough:
Play-dough can help improve your child’s fine motor skills. Ask them to squeeze it, stretch it, pinch, roll, make things, make numbers and letters. They love to play with it and it strengthens their motor skills along the way.
Different types of painting can help strengthen your child’s fine motor skills as well as bring out their creativity and imagination. Try different types of paints and different mediums, for example, crayons, finger painting, brush painting. This will spark their interest and improve hand-eye coordination. Holding a paintbrush and using it helps kids to gain greater control in using pencils. Do paint by number to develop their skill of recognizing numbers as well.
Do puzzles together. Encourage your child to solve them. With puzzles, if difficult, children can give up easily. Make sure it’s something that keeps them interested and is not too difficult. At the age of 4 years, a puzzle with 3-4 pieces is a good way to start. Once they are comfortable solving easy ones, move on to hard ones. If they are still impatient, guide them, give them rewards, encourage them. Once they complete the puzzle, it’s very gratifying for them!
8. Making necklace out of pasta:
A great activity to keep kids engaged, entertained, and to develop their fine motor skills is to ask them to make a necklace or a bracelet out of beads or pasta. All they need to do is to put strings through pasta holes and tie them together. Let them have some fun by painting the pasta as well.
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