Products to Develop Fine-Motor Skills


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Develop Writing Skills.

Young children need to develop strong hands and
shoulders in order to control writing utensils such
as chalk, crayons, paint brushes, rollers and  pencils.

Using a variety of  shapes such as those used in the
Magna Doodle toys, stencils, ink stamps, rubbing tools
and sponge painting help children to refine grasp patterns.

These activities are fun and emotionally as well as
physically prepare children for the more challenging
task of controlling a pencil to form letters and numbers.

Prewriting and drawing activities also develop the visual
motor skills required to make discriminations as children
learn to read and write. 

Other recommended activities include:

  • Glitter pens
  • Changeable markers
  • Finger paint
  • Water paint books
  • Forming shapes on plastic bag filled with hair gel
  • Sidewalk chalk
  • "Drawing" in wet sand or a corn starch and water mixtures

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Develop Manipulation Skills

Dolls with fasteners such as buttons, ties, velcro straps,
zippers,hooks or snaps are
a great way for children to
develop dexterity while learning dressing skills. Dressing
up a doll is a great motivator and not as frustrating as
trying to quickly get dressed to run out and play.

Another tip is to practice on oversized clothing such as
grandma's big old sweater with large buttons. Opening
fasteners is often easier than closing so encourage
learning that skill first. Make a big bag out of an old shirt
or pair of pants so that children can unfasten the buttons,
zipper or snaps to get at something fun inside.  Dress up
clothing  also provides a great opportunity to manipulate
Activities such as lacing blocks, boards and  beads also
develop eye-hand coordination and dexterity to use both
hands together. Be sure to use lacing boards with large
holes for younger children. They will also benefit from
larger beads and stiffer laces or string.

Try this for an even easier modification: Cut out a circle
from  inside a yogurt cover. Tie it to the end of  stiff
cord. Then show a child how to string these easy to
grasp " yogurt cover beads" onto the cord.

Shape sorters, simple form boards or single piece
puzzles and peg boards
help children to develop spatial
perception. This means that children learn how one
object fits inside or next to another object. Toys like
this also teach language concepts such as "in" and
"out", "next to", "above" or "big" and "little".

Pegboards can vary greatly in  difficulty level ranging from
simple large pegs with big whole to small "match stick"
size pegs.  The peg boards made of  foam require develops
hand strength as the child pushes the peg in. The "easy grip"
mushroom shaped pegs are ideal for helping children develop
grasp patterns and hand control. Some peg boards teach
number or alphabet concepts. Other peg boards use different
sizes and shapes to promote discrimination skills. Pegs that
can stack vertically teach up/ down and high/low concepts.

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Games that Teach  Matching, Counting
and Letter Concepts

Some of our oldest and most popular games have endured
time because they
continue to teach basic learning concepts
in a fun way. Children make sense of the world by putting
objects into categories. This begins with matching objects and
later- matching pictures.

The many versions of the Lotto game develops picture
matching skills. The game Candy Land requires children to
discriminate colors and  pictures of candy creations. Since
no reading or counting is involved, very young children can

Simple board games such as the popular Hi HO Cherry -O help
pre-school age children learn to take turns, recognize numbers
and count.  Use of the spinner develops hand control. Where the
pointer lands determines how many cherries to put in the bucket
or back on the tree. The first player to get all the cherries in the
bucket wins.

The game of Trouble does not require reading, but it is for older
children (over 5 or 6 years of age) since it requires strategy. The
players must handle the frustration of having pieces captured
and sent back home.  The "Pop-o-matic" dice container is fun
to push. Players move their pegs according to the number on the
dice. This game develops eye-hand coordination and left/right and
clockwise/counterclockwise directional concepts.

The game of Sorry involves even more fun and strategy and is
recommended for children age eight and older. The game requires
some simple reading skills, more complex counting and rules to
follow- all of which makes this game fun for adults.  

Fine-Motor Skills lead
to Reading and Writing

Fine-motor toys and activities develop the eye-hand coordination,
visual-perceptual skills, memory and learning concepts required
for reading and writing. Please visit these pages for more learning
activities and information:

©2008 Barbara Smith  

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