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Fine Motor Skills

Fine motor skills are so important that whole areas of professional therapy have developed around them. You can provide your own "occupational therapy" right at home by simply noticing the opportunities you already have for your child to develop their fine motor skills, such as doing their own zippers and buttons and snaps and helping in the kitchen with simple tasks like using a butter knife to cut bananas for cereal or putting their own butter on their toast. Although these will be messy projects at first and take longer, it's worth it when you remember the long-term goals of independence and competence. Skills are developed through practice, not by someone else doing it for you, so adjust your schedule as needed to allow for a bit more time if needed while your child is learning.

Children with good fine motor skills are more likely to do well in academic areas such as writing or typing. If they have poor fine motor skills in lifeskills areas (such as dressing themselves or using scissors), then they often have trouble in writing at school and that can have a huge effect on their entire school experience, since so much time during the early years in school is focused on writing. Be sure to seek intervention as early as possible, because the situation will not improve on its own, in most cases.

In the past, many children practiced fine motor skills through countless hours playing games with friends - such as Jacks (usually girls) and Marbles (usually boys). These games are fantastic ways to use the small muscles of the hands and fingers, and developing strength and coordination in a fun and entertaining way. The modern school schedule rarely includes enough free time (formerly called "recess") to include a good game of jacks or marbles, so you'll need to refresh your skills and include these as part of your family time together. If you'll play jacks or marbles at the park, you'll probably meet some new friends, too.

Top five FUN ways to improve Fine Motor Skills
Stickers
Buttons
Playdough
Marbles & Jacks
String & Rope

Suggested books about Fine Motor Skills.
(Please click the picture for more info or to purchase.)

Carving soap is another good way to improve fine motor skills.

LEARN
Large Motor Skills
Fine Motor Skills
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Taking Turns
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