Some toddlers have awesome fine motor skills. Others have to work a lot harder at it, and may require a lot longer to master tasks like feeding themselves. Some of this is genetic; some is their nature; and some of it is how often they practice. Luckily, there are a few easy things you can do to increase your child’s fine motor control—including a fun craft or two!
Buy a big bag of plastic beads and pipe cleaners. If you have a craft in mind, you can choose appropriate colors—red and white for candy canes, for example; orange and black for a Halloween craft; green for a wreath for Christmas—but your toddler will have just as much fun with a massive number of mixed color beads.
Dump the beads in a box. Your toddler isn’t going to have the patience for picking each bead out of the bag one at a time. They will end up dumped all over the floor if you attempt to go that route. Save yourself the time and energy and go ahead and put them in something that will be easy to clean up later.
Help your child lace one or two beads onto the pipe cleaner. They should have a relatively snug fit, so they won’t come flying off the end if they just leave them there; waving the pipe cleaner around energetically, however, may send beads everywhere. For this reason, you might want to create a “knot” at one end to prevent the beads from moving too much.
Turn them loose! You might end up with some interesting and unintended creations that way. That’s okay. They’re more fun than the “perfect” craft you came up with initially anyway.
Older kids will probably prefer a more intricate craft. They’ll respond better to instructions. Of course, they might come up with a few interesting creations of their own along the way….