If you have a young child, you are probably very used to hearing the term fine motor skills and know that it's important but what exactly are fine motor skills and why is it important for children to develop them?
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What are fine motor skills?
Fine motor skill involves the coordination of small muscle movement in the fingers, hands and arms. Fine motor skill also includes the use of hand-eye coordination. Basically, fine motor skill is dexterity.
Why are fine motor skills so important?
The development of fine motor skills is crucial for children in the early years because it helps them to learn. As your little one approaches preschool and the early school years, fine motor skills become necessary for academic learning, as they help with numeracy and literacy.
Fine motor skills are essential to dexterity which is an important thing for life in general - think of how many things we do on a daily basis that require dexterity of our hands. And don't forget that fine motor skill development can be huge for your child's self-esteem!
How can you encourage fine motor skill development in your child?
As important fine motor skill development is, it's quite easy to encourage its development in your child. Here are a few things you can do (from babies to preschoolers):
Play with blocks.
Place scarves in a box or oball and let your infant or toddler pull them out.
Put pipe cleaners in a strainer and let your baby pull them out. For young toddlers, put some in the holes and keep some out to encourage your child to put them in himself.
Make your own play dough and work your toddler's hand muscles.
Coloring is a simple activity but can really help develop your child's fine motor skills.
Take an old Parmesan cheese container, cut straws and let your child put the straws in the holes.