Writing is one of the most common activities that we do in school. Starting at the age of 3, children are already taught how to write letters, numbers and their names. However, not all children grow at the same pace which means there are activities that seem to be easy for some children, but very difficult for some. There are children who can write at the age of 3 but some are just beginning to hold a writing material.
Parents and teachers face difficulties to teach writing. The first step for writing is actually holding or gripping the pencil. This is where the development of fine motor skills will take place. Fine motor is actually the movement the small muscles in our fingers which enables us to move and grip the pencil. Development of these fine motor muscles don’t take place overnight. It takes time to make the muscles more stable and there are many ways and activities we could do to promote better pencil grip and effective fine motor development.
Here are some ways and activities to develop fine motor skills:
- Dotted writing pencil
Some writing materials have a very smooth texture which causes the pencil to slip off the hand. Using a dotted pencil is actually a good way to help our children grip the pencil easier as the rubber dots helps the pencil to stay in place.
- Cutting with scissors
Cutting with scissors is an activity that children really love. This is because children get excited with different shapes that they form when cutting. Using scissors is also a good way to develop fine motor skills. As they try to open and close the scissors the muscles are being developed. Children can start cutting straight lines form strips of paper and gradually, let them cut zigzag or curved lines.
- Use of chopsticks or thongs
Chopsticks and thongs are great materials to develop fine motor skills. With these materials, the children would learn how to press and hold an object. This can be used with beads, pompoms or when eating food. You can also do color sorting activities with these or even sensory play.
- Bubble wrap
Bubble wraps may seem like a very simple object, but this actually promotes fine motor skills. As children press and pop the bubble wrap, it strengthens the muscles in their fingers. And top of that, the popping sound actually therapeutic and give calming effect not just for children but also for adults.
- Tracing worksheets
Some children might find it boring in doing tracing worksheets. However, you can use their favorite cartoon character, or you can use their favorite color in writing. Before a child could write letters and numbers, it is best to start with vertical and horizontal lines and eventually curved lines.
- Clay moulding
Clay molding is actually one of the most common activities to develop fine motor skills. Through clay, the children can press, pat, roll or form the clay into different objects making it more fun. It also helps them with eye-hand coordination and it promotes their creativity and imagination.
- Use of toys and books
Let’s not go too far. Playing with toys especially the small ones can definitely help in developing fine motor skills. Just by flipping book pages, pushing small cars or even combing of Barbie hair, all of these activities are beneficial. One of the best toys that children love would be Lego blocks. From building of blocks to unstacking of the blocks can exercise small muscles on the fingers.
There are still endless ways to develop the fine motor skills of our children. Just always remember to keep it fun and that we have to accept that process of development is unique for each just. We just have to be patient and the muscles will develop the natural way!