Budget-Friendly Ways to Help Your Toddler Develop Fine Motor Skills
Saturday April 27, 2013
It’s important for toddlers to develop their fine motor skills early on. We all know a toddler’s attention span is relatively short to say the least, and getting them to concentrate on a task at hand can be difficult. Here are somebudget-friendly ways that parents and caregivers can get their toddlers to develop control skills. From drawing and finger painting to stacking and sorting, you can help your little one’s physical development with fun and free play any time of the day.
Fine motor skills involve the use of the small muscles in the fingers, hands and wrists. Just as gross motor skills, like walking, running, jumping, climbing and hopping are important for children in their development, fine motor skills also help improve hand-eye coordination. These fine motor skills are important for young children to practice and learn as these skills have been shown to help with maths, language and writing skills.
Fine motor skills don’t necessarily develop at a regular pace. Sometimes you may feel your little one is picking up these skills very quickly, while at other times it may seem they are lagging behind. Don’t worry too much; children develop at different paces, so it doesn’t pay to compare your child to other children too often.
Some kids love to take their clothes off just after you’ve dressed them to go out. Although this can be frustrating for you, it helps them to develop their fine motor skills. Learning to dress and undress themselves takes patience and hand-eye coordination. Buttons, zippers, clasps and other closures require a certain amount of muscle development in the fingers, hands and wrists. The small act of dressing provides numerous valuable skills for future physical and brain development. Consider using iron on clothing labels to help your child avoid putting his clothing on backwards, as this is something children often do when they begin dressing themselves.
Filling, Pouring, Stacking, Sorting and Stringing
A great way for little ones to develop their fine motor skills in a fun and creative way is to allow them to fill, pour, stack and sort. As a parent you will be fully aware of how well a small child can quickly empty out a container, but filling one up takes the use of fine motor skills. Get your little one to feed dried pasta into an empty bottle or fill a pot with blocks. Pouring water, sand or uncooked rice from one container to another can be great fun for toddlers and helps with their hand-eye coordination. Sorting pegs from one container to another is a popular favourite with toddlers and young children. A good way to develop fine motor skills in your child is to work with them to sort items by colour, size or shape. You can also help your child to string beads. This takes a great deal of hand-eye coordination and is a great activity that promotes fine muscle strength in their small fingers and hands.
Pinching and Poking
Getting children to learn to pick things up with their thumb and forefinger is a very useful developmental skill. One of the best ways children learn to do this is when they are given small boxes of raisins to eat. They learn to pick up one raisin at a time between their thumb and index finger. Educational toys that feature zips, tabs, closures and buttons are great for little kids to practice these useful skills. Giving your child a pair of tongs or blunt tweezers to pick up small objects is also a practical way you can help them develop their fine motor skills.
At some time between the age of 12 to 18 months children begin to show an interest in drawing and scribbling. Allowing your toddler to draw often helps them to develop the hand strength to be able to hold a pencil correctly. Drawing and colouring is a creative way for little ones to use the fine motor skills they are developing. If drawing with pencils or crayons doesn’t interest your little one, then try giving them large chalk pieces to use outside on the cement, or soap crayons to use in the bath. And don’t forget finger painting — something all children love to do. Although it can get a little messy, finger painting is a great way for young toddlers to get used to drawing.
You’ll have plenty of opportunities to spend money for your children’s learning in the future so why not enjoy teaching your children simple and free lessons while you can?
About the Author: As a mother of five children, Dianna Maine has found a number of creative ways to help her children learn. She writes for parenting and early education blogs.
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