How to Promote Fine Motor Development in Preschoolers
Hello Hungry Cutters peeps! My name is Laura, I’m a Pediatric OT and mama to a sweet and fiesty 2 year old girl. I work with children from preschool to 6th grade who have developmental delays including sensory processing disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorder and learning disabilities. While my passion is talking all things sensory, I’m here today to chat about my second favorite topic: fine motor development in preschoolers.
Grasp patterns and lagging fine motor skills are some of the most common referrals for pediatric OTs. Parents want to know how to “fix” their child’s “awkward grasp”, whether it’s age appropriate, and how to make sure they can keep up with their peers’ fine motor skills.
Many parents are often surprised to find that my top 10 activities to promote fine motor skills don’t even involve a pencil/crayon/marker and paper. There are so many other functional, age appropriate, and FUN activities that can promote fine motor development in preschoolers.
Guest blogger: Laura Petix, OTR/L
Fine Motor Development Factors
it’s important to understand the particular factors that contribute to grasp development ( you can read more details in my blog post here) .
The hand develops in 2 separate parts: the ring/pinky side and the thumb/pointer/middle finger side.
Shoulder stability and core strength are necessary to refine coordination and control in fine motor muscles of the hand.
An open webspace (space between base of index finger and base of thumb when holding a pencil) is important for endurance and efficient muscle use.
Fine Motor Activities for Preschoolers
Here’s a list of some fun activities to help build fine motor strength, refine grasp patterns and encourage bilateral integration (an important skill for handwriting and drawing) with materials most parents have around the house.
Clothespins games, activities or crafts: Use clothespins to pick up cotton balls, or use a clothespin to pinch a pom-pom and paint a craft with it.
Spray Bottles: I got mine from the Dollar Store! Fill with water color paint, chalk paint or just water and allow child to spray plants, spray the fence or help wash their outside toys!
Lacing: Use large lacing beads (Melissa & Doug has some nice wooden ones), or go old school and use some rigatoni pasta and yarn.
Q-tip painting: Use Q-tips dipped in paint to do dot-painting (Pinterest has some super cute Q-tip painting ideas!)
Coins in a piggy bank: (supervision required) Picking up coins with finger tips and placing them into a piggy bank is great for practicing a tripod grasp and manual dexterity
Playdough: rolling it, kneading it, using stamps, cutting it with scissors or a knife- playdough should be a staple in all preschoolers’ play kit!
Folding: Folding paper requires bilateral coordination and strength; make a simple card for mom or dad by folding paper in half
Legos: Good, old fashioned fun. Legos are wonderful for building visual motor skills, hand strength and bilateral coordination. Bonus points for copying a model!
Ripping paper: seriously, ripping paper is a great fine motor activity! It requires bilateral coordination and strength for those little hands. Find a fun pinterest ripping paper craft, or shred some of that mail in that junk pile on your kitchen counter (you know which pile I’m talking about!)
Stickers: Peeling stickers off of a sticker page require a good pincer grasp and bilateral coordination. Here’s a hack for you: Peel off the outside edge of the sticker page so little fingers are more successful at peeling off the page. Draw a line, circle, or zigzag on a paper with a marker and have the child put stickers along the path.
Thank you for stopping by and reading my tips! If you liked this article, please check out some of my other blog posts:
10 ways to practice letter formation (put link below)
3 ways to cross midline everyday (put link below)
Find me on Instagram as: @TheOTButterfly
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