Grabbing, pinching, drawing, writing, using scissors, fine motor skills include hands and fingers actions, the sense of touch, and eye coordination. Some actions that we perform everyday without even noticing… It starts developing since birth (grasp reflex) and becomes more precise throughout the ages.
Fine motors skills are essential to the good development of children and enable them to lay the foundations for their autonomy.
If fine motor skills are key to autonomy and self esteem, how can we help them as parents and grandparents?
How does fine motor skills activities reinforce self-confidence and help control young age frustrations?
Developing fine motor skill to become independent
Between three and five, children are after the quest of their autonomy. After a phase of intense opposition, children discover action power, by reproducing what adults do in front of them. It is by doing that children learn and start to better understand the world. By letting them be the actors of their movements, we help them to gain confidence and reduce their frustration crisis, linked with the impossibility to act “like big ones”.
Learning to perform everyday tasks is very rewarding. Children always look for Imitation toys first whether they be doll’s tea sets, fake fruits and vegetables to cut, dolls or handiworks.
But after 3 or 4 yo, real life actions are even more fascinating and educational. They are one of the basis of Montessori’s pedagogical approach: autonomous learning is acquired thanks to autonomous acting and so, by real life activities with a true objective.
Activities to develop fine motor skills
We can exercise fine motors skills through everyday activities at school or at home: cutting, coloring, painting, construction games, hand exercises, etc. In our construction games for instance, children will work their coordination and the musculature of their hands by folding, building the decors and changing them. Each step enables them to work with precision, concentration and coordination their hands’ musculature. Help them by showing them a first time the manipulations and then, let them train by themselves so they can find their own independence and develop their manual dexterity. Repeating movements is of high importance : thanks to repetition, knowledges and knowhow are really embedded in children’s brains.
Everyday activities are also a very good way to exercise on manual activities. Tying shoelaces, opening or closing a zip, holding cutleries, opening and closing boxes, pouring water, washing one’s hands, washing a table, opening or closing clothespin… Use a variety of activities and transform them into a game so that children enjoy what they do!
Autonomous play is key to children’s development
Fine motor skills are a key element for all learnings and we use them all the time, whether it be at home or at school.
Once they acquired manuals skills, learning new tasks becomes easier. Children who learnt the basis of fine motors skills when they were young, can learn with less efforts and more ease complex functions. They will then be able to reveal themselves because they will choose by themselves creative and manual activities that really interest them, and will acquire writing skills more calmly.
You are Fabulous!
By developing this capacity, children become more autonomous. They are proud of their independence and therefore, they gain self-confidence, self-discipline, autonomy and perseverance. So it is essential to let them do things alone, outside help is necessary only if they really need it.