Activities to improve fine motor skills

To acquire good fine motor skills it is necessary to take into account the elements involved in handling: arm, hand, fingers, objects, etc .; its operation and the adequate maturational moment to start using them. At the time of helping our son to improve fine motor skills, we have to consider his cerebral maturation, on which the coordination of the movements depends.

At the beginning, children make global movements with their whole body, until they reach the most specific, typical of the fine motor.

The acquisition of body control is achieved from the head to the feet (Cefalocaudal Law), which allows to separate from the ground until standing and walking, and from the center of the body out (Proximidistal Law), allowing arms and legs that are handled independently of the rest of the body. The arms go from global movements, where the whole hand intervenes, to more specific movements such as the digital clamp, in which the grip is made with the thumb, index and heart.

Work fine motor skills with children from 1 to 3 years

First, to work the fine motor, the child must use the fingertips, because they provide a lot of sensory information, as if they were the "eyes of the hands".

Later, to favor different forms of grip or grip of the object, which at the same time require a different pressure or force to perform with the instrument, we can use different instruments such as punches, scissors, fat sewing needles, sponges, brushes ...

In this sense, to be able to acquire a good command of the hands it is convenient that they are relaxed, so games are recommended to manipulate a lot, gesticulate with them ... to be able to distinguish when they are tense and when relaxed. Equally, it is convenient to make movements with the fingers to disinhibit them and become aware of each of them. On the other hand, the dissociation of the hands will be acquired little by little until reaching the use of one hand, while the other serves to hold the material on which one is working. These processes require good motor coordination, in which biological aspects and proper practice intervene.

Exercises to improve fine motor skills in children

1. Modeling with different materials. For example, make chocolate eggs, clay balls, plasticine churros, play with bread dough ...

2. Trim with your hands. With colorful tissue paper, newspaper or toilet paper, make long or short strips, make balls, small pieces ... and play with the resulting pieces to rain, to fall the leaves of trees, to shower, to cook as if they were macaroni, etc.

3. Draw without a pencil. Make paths on sand, talcum powder, shaving foam, cream, bread crumbs, etc. You can make several paths (horizontal, vertical, curved ...) and make runs with your fingers.

4. Play to open and close boxes of different sizes, fill and empty jars with pasta, pine nuts, pebbles, cork balls, legumes ..., pick up and drop objects ... and represent actions in stories and narrations, such as leaving pebbles along a path so as not to get lost as in Hansel and Gretel.

5. Perform symbolic game where they become dads and moms and fold clothes, uncover pots, shake dust, empty wastebaskets, shop for clothes ...

6. Do small choreographies with songs opening and closing the hands simultaneously, one yes and the other not, raising one and lowering another ... being able to complicate the activity gradually as, for example, touching the head with one hand, while with the other one makes the guitar play.

7. Play to represent scenes with your fingerIt's like, for example, a parade of soldiers where our fingers are the soldiers who march on the table, walk with their fingers as if they were spiders, small ants, etc. We can include the arms and simulate how the seagulls fly, the airplanes, to be monkeys, etc.

8. Draw silhouettes in the air with your hands and fingers, supported by sounds or sound effects such as tall, sharp and rocky mountains that cut out the sky while you hear the whistling of the wind, or make them waves of the sea that move gently with the wind.

You can also use commercialized materials specialized in fine motor skills such as beads to make necklaces, normal finger paints or to paint in the bathtub, sponges, tampons or stamps, punches (with adult supervision), graphomotor cards, etc.

Marta Font Genovart,Psychomotorist
Mª Fernanda Jorge Silverio, Physiotherapist.
Sara Valiente Rodríguez, Psychologist


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