If your child's shaky printing looks like a spooky note left by a ghost, chances are you've already heard the term fine motor skills. Preschoolers and kindergarteners often haven't developed the little muscles in their hands and fingers necessary for proper cutting and neat handwriting, but once kids enter elementary school fine motor skills are crucial. Almost every task in the classroom requires the use of these muscles, whether it's writing answers to math problems, journaling, cutting, gluing or sorting manipulatives.
It will take some time, but with constant practice there are ways to improve a child's fine motor development. Louann Brescini, a preschool teacher in Yorba Linda, CA, shared some fun ways to exercise and strengthen little fingers. Here are her top 7.
7 FUN WAYS TO STRENGTHEN FINE MOTOR SKILLS
1.Crumple a paper into a small ball and then flick it with the finger. Play soccer with the paper ball.
2.Use a deck a cards to shuffle, deal and then play a game of War.
3.Do connect the dots and puzzle books.
4.Use "Wikki Stix," "Bendaroos" or cooked spaghetti to form shapes, letters, numbers and other designs. You may want to use a template.
5.Color using the flat side of a crayon. Put paper over leaves, stencils and other objects so that the child gets sensory feedback as he colors.
6.Play with playdough. Poke, squeeze, pound, press, knead, etc.
7.Make a necklace with yarn, beads, ring shaped cereal and/or large holed buttons.
For more information on fine motor skills, check out these websites: