Sunday, March 8, 2015

Fine Motor Skills

For kids who need help with fine motor skills, here are some fun suggestions on how to work on the skills without them knowing it!

While many sites provide recommendations for the younger set, many are a bit boring for the older ones, who still need help . This list provides a comparable activity that would serve the same purpose, but geared for older kids.
  • Playing with Playdoh/clay: Purchase air-dry clay and create small critters or tree ornaments. 
  • Dot-to-dot: Use increasingly more difficult dot-to-dot patterns or sequences. For example, kids can practice skip counting, spelling out words, or work with larger numbers on the dot-to-dots.
  • Coloring - Like the dot-to-dot, use increasingly more difficult patterns and switching from crayons to colored pencils. There are quite a few coloring books for older kids and adults which help with continued improvement of motor skills. Dover Publishers has wonderful coloring books.
  • String beads or pasta to make necklaces and bracelets. Go to a local craft store for a wide variety of options for creating beaded jewelry. 
  • Ripping paper: For younger kids this is very helpful. For older ones, you can move to tissue paper or other textures and create abstract, collage art using ripped paper and white glue. 
  • Cutting Paper - For young children, cutting basic shapes may be helpful. For old ones encourage them to make snowflakes and move on to paper dolls and other paper crafts that involve cutting. I provide some paper craft links below. 
  • Needlepoint:  Lacing cards are great for younger kids, but older kids would find this work uninspiring. For older kids, try using simple needlepoint shapes that kids of all ages can make crafts that can fulfill the needs of lacing. You can purchase plastic canvas and yarn at most department stores. The ones that already come in shapes are the best for new work, as they are easier to manipulate and the kids will have a recognizable, finished product at the end. 
  • Tracing Stencils - With younger kids, use simple stencils. With older kids, use more complicated stencils and incorporate coloring to have a complete activity. 
  • Painting: Use more sophisticated tools and supplies to keep older kids interest in painting. 
  • Paper crafts: Projects such as origami and paper airplanes can provide increasingly more difficult projects. Toymaker offers some beautiful paper crafts. For Disney lovers, they have a collection of paper crafts based on many of their movies and parks at Family Disney. Here is a Pinterest page with links to a variety of Origami for Kids links. 
  • Knitting & crocheting: These are excellent crafts that help kids develop their fine-motor skills. There are many simple crafts that kids can create.  Here is a page "Teaching Kids to Knit" with directions, images and videos. "Learning How to Knit for Kids and Adults" has quite a few resources on knitting. 
  • Games: Operation is a great game for practicing fine motor skills. Using the tweezers, kids have to remove objects without setting off the buzzer.
  • Weaving: Ranging from paper placemats to fabric hot-pads and even larger rugs. Weaving works on kids motor skills. Here are directions how to weave with a cardboard loom and another weaving a small wall hanging. For more details here is a detailed video

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