Fine motor skill development -Finger play fun!

Any activity that involves using fingers develops hand to eye coordination and develops the muscles in hands and fingers, thereby improving fine motor skills. Children need to develop good fine motor skills so that they can manage their zips and buttons when getting dressed, use cutlery, cut with scissors and begin drawing and writing.
Colouring in, threading and lacing activities are often undervalued but are in fact really valuable for improving children’s hand to eye co-ordination and fine motor skills. They require no special resources and can be fun activities to do at home.
Colouring in
So what are the benefits?
·       Hand and eye coordination are developed as children are required to colour within a specific area and hold the crayon in a comfortable grip. Sharpening their own crayons can further develop this skill.
·       Fine motor control which are necessary for children to manipulate the crayon on the paper. The muscle control and dexterity they develop will help when children start to participate in mark making and early writing.
·       Concentration and patience are both needed to complete a colouring. Children can return repeatedly to a favourite colouring sheet building up the time spent on it and completing it over a period of time. Once a sheet is completed children can experience a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment.
·       Knowledge can be extended if colouring sheets can be tailored towards a particular interest or topic.
·       Children can experience patterns, colours and shapes within their colouring and an interested adult can use this opportunity to introduce a range of vocabulary and concepts to the child within a relaxed and fun context. So colouring can help children develop their language skills and early concepts.
·       Confidence and self-esteem can be boosted as children's skills improve and they experience a sense of accomplishment.
·       Opportunities for creativity and self-expression as children select colours and add embellishments. They may also create stories around the picture that they are colouring.

Sewing, Threading and Lacing
There are many variations of this activity that can be used to widen the scope of learning.
·       Try threading with beads, buttons, coloured pasta shapes, Cheerios or sections of drinking straws to make necklaces and garlands. A pipe cleaner provides an alternative to a string and is a more stable threading tool for younger children.
·       Use a lacing card and thread string in and out of the holes. These lacing cards are easy to make using your own picture such as a cut-out birthday card and a hole punch.
·       Threading beads onto a string provides the opportunity to introduce children to colour names, counting, concepts and the language of pattern, size, shape and matching.
·       Try putting the letters of your child’s name onto beads and then using a threading activity to order and name the sound.
Enjoy and have fun together!
For more tips and ideas join our ‘Starting BIG school in September’ Facebook group.