When your child starts maintaining eye contact, grasping objects, and moving their smaller muscle groups, they are developing fine motor skills. Fine motor acquisition is a continual process that encourages them to explore the world around them and aid in successful learning. These small muscles allow them to manipulate objects, which in turn sets them up for the actions required for independence--like dressing, feeding themselves, using the restroom, writing etc. Fine motor skills take years to develop, and entail various aspects of movement. Here’s what you need to know about the development of fine motor skills.
What does fine motor development entail?
Fine motor development begins with your baby tracking and fixating on objects with their eyes. They will also hold on to items with their hand--like your finger, for instance. These finger and hand movements are what will allow them to reach, hold, and manipulate objects around them in the future.
As they grow, so too will their ability to grasp. They will move from holding something with their whole hand to using specific fingers, like a pincer grasp. From here, they will begin to use both hands to manipulate objects and soon demonstrate left or right-handed dominance.
How can you support healthy fine motor growth?
You know what they say--practice makes perfect! That is true with fine motor growth, as well. The best thing you can do for your child is to engage them in activities that require movement and the manipulation of these small muscles. Here are some tips for ways to help your little one develop fine motor skills:
--Encourage your child to “help” feed and dress themselves. While they may be mundane activities, they’re great opportunities to give them the chance to hone these skills.
--Place objects far enough away to encourage them to reach for them.
--Let your child pick up food, like Cheerios, to help strengthen and refine their grasp.
--As your child works toward eating independently, try a 1:1 approach; both you and your little one hold a spoon, and you alternate scooping, moving, and feeding. Yogurt is perfect for this activity, and remember, it’s okay to get messy!
--Incorporate play dough! This malleable substance is a great way to work every part of your little one’s hands.
--Demonstrate what happens when you manipulate objects. For instance, use your hand in a twisting-turning motion to open a door or unscrew a lid. Or, use two hands to bang some blocks together to show how different movements can make different noises.
The opportunities for fine motor development are endless. From everyday activities to playtime, your child always has the chance to learn and grow. At Pooka Box, we provide your little one with toys, games, and activities that help with healthy growth and development, all while having fun! Our subscription boxes are a great way to get fun and exciting tools to help your child become a lifelong learner.