Sewing beads onto material with thread. Frida loved doing this today. This was absolutely process art: there was no outcome in mind, just some exploration using two materials she knows well (sewing materials and threading beads) in a new way. After she had finished she wanted to display her finished piece next to some of her earlier work.
I try and ensure that I offer Frida lots of opportunities for work which develops her fine motor skills. She is nearly four, and I am so aware of the importance of this kind of work now to prepare her hand muscles for writing and drawing.
We are home educating Frida, for the time being at least (you can read my answers to some of the FAQ I get about home education here) and although I passionately believe that every child will develop at their own pace and therefore can benefit from a tailored approach to education, I do keep my eye on the Development Matters document to see if there are any obvious areas which I can help support Frida with.
Fine motor work in the home
Here are some easy activities you can offer at home which can help your children with their fine motor skills, strengthening their hand muscles, and developing their hand-eye coordination:
- Practical life work. So much practical life work involves fine motor skills, including chopping food, getting dressed (buttons! velcro! laces!), pouring, digging, wringing out washcloths, and so much more.
- Modelling. With modelling clay, playdough, salt dough, modelling wax, kinetic sand, using tools, using fingers – there are great options for every age and stage, and modelling is brilliant for strengthening those hand muscles.
- Process art. Paint, crayons, pencils, using collage materials including scissors and glue, stamps, felt pens… focus on the process (and the joy!) rather than the outcome.
- Threading and sewing. Give babies stacking rings, then toddlers can be given chunky threading disks with a lace or sewing “needle” (this looks amazing for toddlers), then introduce beads and finally sewing with a needle. This work is great for fine motor skills and hand eye coordination, just be careful with beads around young children who are still putting things in their mouths.
- Baking. Kneading dough is again great for strengthening hand muscles (plus who doesn’t love fresh bread?)
- Using knobbed puzzles, sorting coloured beads, playing with loose parts. Anything that works that pincer grip!
What do your children love doing that builds their fine motor skills? Have I missed out any of your favourites?