Fine motor skills involve using the smaller muscles in the wrists, hands, fingers, feet, and toes. These tiny muscles are very important for a child’s development and school readiness. In recent years the fine motor skills of preschool/kindergarten children has seen a decline. This is why it’s critical to practice fine motor skills in the summer to build and maintain these muscles that play important roles in drawing, writing, self-care, and balance. Fine motor activities are relatively easy to create for indoors but they make take a little thought for outdoor play.
Consider adding the following activities to your summer schedule not just for fun but for fine motor skill development:
- Sidewalk Chalk – This is a wonderful activity that’s inexpensive, fun, and can be done over and over again. Grasping the chalk and drawing on the ground provide great fine motor practice.
- Sand Play – Playing in sand often involves digging, scooping, and building. All of these actions help build fine motor skills. Walking in sand barefoot has the added benefit of working toes and foot muscles for balance.
- Sponges and Water – Squeezing sponges helps work hand muscles. This can be made multipurpose by letting the children “clean” pieces of outdoor play equipment or part of the home. They love to help and play in water.
- Squirt Guns – They aren’t just fun, they are a great way to build fine motor skills. Also, large motor skills are worked by running and jumping around during the water gun fight.
- Water Play – A larger container of water and a few play pitchers or cups can keep many children occupied for hours. Grasping the handle of a pitcher and pouring water helps work the fingers, hands, and wrists. Providing a variety of pitcher sizes may can increase the weight that they are lifting.
- Outdoor Art – An outdoor art area can be created with leaves, mud, sticks, and rocks. Allow the children to create art over and over again by painting with mud, cutting leaves into different shapes, and decorating their creations with sticks and rocks. This type of art recycles itself and may be incorporated into gardens as decorations or mulch.
Enjoy the summertime but continue to help your child develop and maintain these crucial skills that help them be successful in school. A little planning can go a long way. Happy Learning!
From the Desk of Shani Snell, Early Childhood Education Department Head
For more information about the ECE program at Community Care College, click here or call 918.610.0027!