Help Your Child Develop Fine Motor Skills

Did you know that your toddler's scribbles and lines are actually a precursor to writing?  Writing is something that takes time and lots of practice.  It begins with scribbles and making marks as toddlers experiment holding a crayon, progresses to drawings you may or may not be able to make out, before eventually leading to your child's first written letters.  In order to help your child with their writing journey, there are lots of activities that you can do with them to help them develop the fine motor skills that are needed to grasp a pencil and draw letters.

  1.  Play with clothespins. Traditionally used to hang clothes, clothespins have been used in craft projects and are also wonderful aids in developing fine motor skills.  Simply give your child an empty cardboard shoebox and have them attach the clothespins to the lip of the box.  Start your child off with some plastic clothespins that are easy to open before moving up to the sturdier wooden clothespins that can be more of a challenge to open.  Take it even further by including some alphabet, numbers, shapes, or colors matching.
  2. Get out the playdough.  Playdough is great for building strength in your child's hands.  The simple act of pressing, rolling, squeezing, pinching, etc. develops fine motor skills.  It is also a calming, relaxing activity that encourages focus and concentration. Teach your child different shapes using playdough or use playdough to create each letter of your child's name together.  
  3. Use droppers.  Give your child some droppers, a few plastic containers, and a cup of water.  Have your child transfer the water in the cup to the containers.  If you have some food coloring handy, you can turn this simple activity into an educational one and teach them about primary colors and color theory.