Fine motor skills include activities in which children use the small muscle of the hands. They are important for performing everyday tasks like getting dressed but also academic skills as writing or drawing.
There are many activities you can do with your toddler at home to develop fine motor skills. Many of them can seem trivial but represent a big step in the autonomy of your toddler and can also be a big help for you.
I have two toddlers, with 3 and 4 years old. When I am making housework, I like to involve them for several reasons:
- They help me and they feel useful, which improves their self-confidence and also their sense of responsibility.
- While they help me they are learning and improving skills (not only motor skills but also housework that brings up some concepts of hygiene and tidiness that will be important for their lives).
- If they are occupied there will be fewer probabilities of having sibling rivalry or that I have to interrupt the housework activities.
Said this, find below some of the home activities that help to improve fine motor skills (these activities suit better children from 3 years old).
Put clothes on a clothesline, using a clothes peg.
If you do not have a clothesline like I don’t, you can use woolen yarn and improvise.
Fold the clothes
Can you imagine how great it will be when your toddler can really help you to fold t-shirts, shirts or socks?
It is a win-win activity, but the first times it will require a little bit of patience from you. With love, all becomes easier.
Cut the vegetables for the soup
This activity will require much attention from your side and you must explain that knives can hurt but it is also wonderful when you get your child to do it. She will become more confident and feel like a grown-up. You should always be supervising and in the beginning, try with softer vegetables like courgettes or even mushrooms. As they improve, you can jump to carrots or potatoes.
Peel an orange with fingers
This can be challenging for the first time but is a very good exercise to improve fine motor skills.
Pass lentils, beans or another kind of small food from one recipient to another.
They will have to use the index finger and the thumb in a tweezer position, so it is also excellent to improve fine motor skills.
Put the table
While they learn where the place of the fork, the knife and the spoon are, this exercise implies they handle the tableware carefully and with some dexterity.
Make cookies, bread or a cake
Sometimes we follow the rules and use the typical ingredients, other times I let them use their creativity and choose some ingredients to make a cake or cookies. So, this activity is great for learning how to cook but is still a valuable one to improve fine motor skills when molding the ingredients and shaping them with a form, when handling and using the kitchen utensils, etc.
As you can see, housework does not need to be boring. It can become such a funny activity and a way to have good moments together, improving family ties too.
If you have more suggestions, please leave a comment.