Even if your child has experienced pre-school, moving on to kindergarten is still an exciting step into the “big kid” world. Besides shopping for school supplies and new shoes, there are things you can do to make sure your little one is ready for the transition, including working on fine motor skills.
What Are Fine Motor Skills?
We’re so used to our bodies doing whatever we need them to do for daily tasks that it may seem like gross and fine motor skills are completely intuitive. This isn’t the case. Whereas gross motor skills refer to how well we use the large muscles in our body to run, jump and get out of bed, fine motor skills develop the small muscles in our wrists, hands, and fingers, allowing us to do everything from tying our shoes and buttoning our shirts to typing on a keyboard.
For small children, honing their fine motor abilities and hand-eye coordination are important steps toward independence. The ability to open doors, zip up a backpack, and wash their own hands lays the foundation for skills that come later, such as holding a pencil and playing a musical instrument.
For example, before children can learn to write or draw, their hands need to be strong enough to hold a pencil steady for extended amounts of time. Dexterity and coordination are also essential in order to take part in school sports and games.
Here are 5 skills to help your child master before entering kindergarten:
– Use a pencil or crayon with some control
– Cut with scissors
– Copy basic shapes
– Form numbers and letters, especially the ones in their name
– Put together simple puzzles
What Are Some Fine Motor Activities for Kids?
1. Playing with Play Dough
If you don’t have any play clay on hand, it’s easy to make your own. To strengthen hand muscles, encourage your child to squeeze, stretch, pinch and roll “snakes”.
2. Playing with Sponges
Gather together a clean sponge, two bowls, and some water, and you’ll have another fine motor skills activity to strengthen hands and forearms. Fill one bowl with water and leave the other one empty, so your child can soak the sponge in the water and then squeeze it out into the other bowl.
Finger painting is a great way for kids to not only practice using their hands but also get really messy! You can also introduce painting with a brush, which helps children learn how to hold a brush correctly and use it as a tool. Try paint-by-number kits for this activity.
4. Practicing with tongs and tweezers
Moving different tiny objects (like Cheerios or beads) from one container to the other builds strength and coordination – and is also really fun.
5. Water play
Find an eyedropper, fill a cup about a quarter full of water and let your child try to transfer the water from one cup to the other by drawing the water into the dropper and squirting it into the empty cup. To make this even more exciting, have several cups and dye the water different colors with food coloring.
6. Gardening and planting
Digging and gardening might seem more like a way to build gross motor skills but certain enrichment activities, like transferring seedlings, require smaller muscle control and hand-eye coordination skills. Grasping a trowel also practices using a pincer grip.
Are You Looking for a Private Kindergarten School in Virginia Beach or near Chesapeake, VA?
Strelitz International Academy is one of the best private schools in southeastern Virginia. We take pride in our IB® Primary Years Programme (PYP), which is available to 3- to 12-year-old elementary school students. We believe your child will flourish in our environment, thanks to smaller class sizes, a unique curriculum, and exemplary teachers, staff, and administrators. Our goal is to put your child on the path to a lifelong love of learning and educational excellence.