When small muscle movements are coordinated (usually in the fingers, hands and toes) fine motor skills are being utilized. Tying a shoelace, using a pencil and buttoning a button are examples of fine motor skills in action. Here are some activities to improve fine motor skills. The activities are also just good old fashioned fun that you can play anytime. The materials require nothing more than everyday things from around the house.
– paper clip
(you can also play with things like popsicle sticks, crayons, twigs, etc.)
– roll of masking tape
– milk gallon ring top- that thingy you pull off when you open a gallon of milk
Simplest Way to Play: The simplest way to play this activity is to tape your targets (roll of tape and milk top ring) in upright position. Now let your child practice passing items (Q-tip, paperclip, etc.) through the targets.
How to pass an item through the target: Simply hand the item to yourself through the target.
More Challenging Way to Play:
Earn points by passing items through a target without knocking down the target.
You’ll Need Three Dice:
First die–tells you your target: odd number= milk gallon ring; even number= roll of masking tape.
Second die–tells you which item to pass through the target: 1= paper clip; 2= Q-Tip; 3=crayon; etc.
Third die–tells you how many times to pass the item through the target: 1= pass the item one time through the target; 2= pass the item two times through the target; etc.
How to Play:
1.Roll the first die to determine the target. If your target is the roll of masking tape, stand it up. If target is milk top ring, stand it up.
2. Roll the second die to determine which item to pass through the target.
3. Roll the third die to determine how many times you have to pass the item through the target.
4. If you finish your turn without knocking down the target, you score a point.
5. First player to ten points wins.
Note: If your child is too little to pass items through the milk gallon ring, eliminate this component. Simply roll two dice—one to determine which item (Q-tip, crayon, etc.) will be used, and one to determine how many times to pass the item through the roll of tape.
If you’ve ever played PIG or HORSE on a basketball court, then apply the rules to the game-materials above. For example–pass a twig three times through the roll of masking tape. If the other player is unable to repeat the task, she gets a “P.” First player to cause the other player to spell PIG wins.
Setting up and playing fine motor skills activities with your child is a fun and easy way to improve fine motor skills. Using everyday household objects to play the games has the added advantage of stimulating your child’s imagination: she has an opportunity to help pick which items will be used for the games (for example–crayon, popsicle stick, penny, etc.); she also has an opportunity to shape the rules and invent new ways to play. These qualities not only improve fine motor skills, but help to develop the whole child. Have fun!