When an occupational therapist addresses fine motor skills they are assisting with the ability to coordinate the fingers and hands to complete tasks such as writing, cutting, completing clothing fasteners, etc. A child with difficulty with fine motor skills will have trouble completing everyday tasks independently and functionally. The best way to improve fine motor skills and hand strength is by intentionally finding opportunities in their natural environment. The goal for assisting with these functional tasks is to build toward independence which will open many opportunities to self build hand strength and fine motor coordination in their daily functioning. Below are ideas for incorporating fine motor practice into your daily routine!
Cooking: Have your child help you cook by mixing, rolling out dough, cutting, spreading condiments with a knife, etc. This is also a great bonding experience with you and your child!
Cleaning: Having your child help with cleaning tasks such as using spray bottles and sponges can be a great way to increase their hand strength and fine motor skills.
Eating: During meal times, have your child assist with opening and closing containers, use utensils like cutting their food or piercing food with a fork.
Dressing: Facilitating independence during a child’s dressing routine can help to build their fine motor skills. Have them practice buttoning, snapping, or zipping their clothing.
Crafts: Completing crafts with your child are not only fun, but they also help to improve your child’s fine motor skills! Have them tear paper, hole punch, squeeze glue bottles, crumple paper, cut, or paint with Q-tips.
Coloring: When coloring a picture have your child practice using a mature grasp, color within the lines, and encourage sustained coloring for longer durations of time.
Outdoor Chores: Have your child help with watering the plants with a spray bottle or using a shovel to help dig holes in the dirt for gardening.
During play time use:
- Tweezers for transfer of pom poms, game pieces, or craft materials
- Clothes pins for clipping or transferring items
- Play Doh or Clay for molding, rolling, shaping, pinching, squeezing
**All activities should be performed with supervision especially those with sharp or small materials.
Your household items provide a wide variety of opportunities to work on fine motor skills, no expensive equipment needed! Providing opportunities to work on these skills at home will improve your child’s fine motor skills and hand strength in a functional way to assist them in meeting their developmental milestones. Remember to be playful and have fun!
Does your child have fine motor challenges? Contact Chicago Occupational Therapy or call (773) 980-0300 to learn more about our services and how we can help your child flourish and grow.