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Fine Motor Fun!

So many activities and tasks we do every day rely on our hands and fine motor skills. From handwriting, to tying up shoelaces, and playing; sometimes it seems that our hands never have a break! Here are some fun activity ideas that kids can do by themselves or with their favourite people to help practice these tricky tasks and keep their hands in tip-top shape.

Playdough: Playdough is great for practicing whole hand squeezes, pinching with different fingers, using both hands at once to roll and make balls, and twisting with the fingers and wrist. Try making a dog, cat, flower, ice cream or snail – anything will do!

Colouring and Drawing: Triangular shaped colouring pencils and pens are great for kids who may like that little extra pen holding support. Try making a game of it – each person draws on the same picture for 10 seconds, taking turns to add something new. Start the game off with a simple shape like a circle. The first person may start drawing something like a cat, but you could end up with something totally different by the end!

Games: Connect Four, Jenga, and Lego can all be fun ways to practice basic in-hand manipulation and control. Different sized pieces in Lego and other construction games can create different challenge levels.

Puzzles: Puzzles are great for fine-tuned movements and using pinching fingers.

Origami: This is great for practicing folding, pinching, and practising exact movements. Younger kids may enjoy making paper aeroplanes and testing them out in the backyard or park. It can also be a great activity for older kids who may enjoy making paper cranes and charms.

Gardening: This activity uses so much more than our hands. It also teaches valuable planning skills, time awareness and potentially where food comes from. For the hands, gardening teaches how to manipulate different tools and how each one needs to be used differently. For example, trowels dig, rakes scrape, and spray bottles need our hands to pump.

Threading activities: Friendship bracelets, necklaces, sewing, bag charms – there are endless possibilities! Threading is a great way to practice fine motor pinch while making a lovely accessory to show their loved ones.

Cutting and pasting: How to use both ‘do-er’ hand and ‘helper hand’ at once. Cutting and pasting can require both hands to be active and doing different things at the same time. Try making collages, paper mache, and paper models (these can be found on the internet and Pinterest).

Cooking and baking: Cooking and baking uses so many different types of bilateral hand movements (both hands working together, e.g. one holding a bowl while the other controls the spoon), pinches, grasps, tool manipulation, coordination etc. Try icing biscuits or cupcake decorating, making veggie animals (a Pinterest rabbit hole), making faces with items on their dinner plates, or making fancy smoothies and decorating the cup.

 

ROSEMARIE PERKINS

Occupational Therapist.

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