Fine motor skills involve the use of the smaller muscles of the hands. We use them in common activities such as getting dressed, opening lunch boxes and school bags or using pencils or scissors. The development of fine motor skills is important for children to carry out everyday tasks and gain a sense of independence.
The development of sound fine motor skills has also been found to have an impact on academic achievement (particularly in mathematics) and early development of reading skills. However, there is a concern that the increased use of electronic devices may impact the development of these essential skills.
Health researchers at Dublin City University’s School of Health and Human Performance have found that the ability of children to master fine motor tasks such as drawing shapes, fixing laces and putting pegs into a pegboard is not meeting fine motor skills developmental milestones. Researchers attribute the proficiency challenges experienced by older children to technological developments in their immediate environment which has an impact on the opportunities available to engage in fine motor skill movements.
For children who experience difficulty with fine motor skills, the repercussions in the classroom can be significant. Lacking competence in computing, writing, drawing and construction will cause children to fall behind their peers, negatively impacting their self-esteem as well as academic performance. With their focus so dedicated to performing the task of writing or drawing, it is only natural that their understanding and knowledge of the learning is affected. Completing tests within time constraints could also be compromised.
It is vital to develop fine motor skills in our early learners. If your child is experiencing difficulty carrying out everyday tasks such as doing up buttons, holding a pencil or completing a simple puzzle, it could be a sign that motor skill development is required.
Here are some fine motor activities for preschoolers that you can practise with your son:
- Tying shoe laces
Although simple, this is the most effective activity for developing fine motor skills in your son.
Tip a handful of sultanas onto a plate. Ask your child to pick up all the sultanas with their fingers. This also inspires good hand-eye coordination.
- Creative drawing and painting
Holding and controlling crayons, pencils and paintbrushes assists with developing fine motor skills. Drawing also helps with creativity and imagination.
- Building and making
Using scissors to cut, and gluing and construction based activities can all assist your son to develop fine motor skills. Sticker books are also a good resource as the stickers must be carefully removed and stuck carefully into place.
A great way to improve fine motor skills is through building and playing with toy bricks. As your child gets older, replace larger blocks with smaller bricks and more intricate designs.
- Make and do
Making different shapes and playing with Play Doh is also a strong developmental activity when it comes to improving fine motor skills in your early learner.
At Trinity Grammar School, we recognise that a great start to a boy’s learning journey can make all the difference to his academic success. Pre-Kindergarten at Trinity is a specialised option for boys who may not be quite ready for Kindergarten.
Our well-structured Pre-Kindergarten programme will encourage your son to engage in a variety of developmentally appropriate learning experiences that nurture his curiosity and sense of wonder, and challenge his thinking – making for a smooth transition to Kindergarten.
To learn why Pre-Kindergarten at Trinity Grammar School provides the best preparation for school, download our Pre-Kindergarten prospectus.