10 Ways to strengthen the wrists and improve fine motor skills.

A shoutout to all you lovely parents out there. I hope you are enjoying the summer with your little angles. In my previous posts, I shared some ways you can help your child in developing their fine motor skills and finger dexterity. Mostly we concentrate on these two and forget a very important aspect that is imperative for strengthening the fine motor skills; i.e, the wrists.

In today’s post I will share a few activities that can help:

  1. Opening bottle caps– This is a day to day activity that you must encourage your child to do. Usually, when the children come to me with their bottles and ask to open the caps, I encourage them to do it on their own first. Let them try first, for every time they twist the cap, they work on improving their fine motor skills.
  2. Sharpening the pencils– Another small activity that requires the children to twist  their wrists and work on their fine motor.
  3. Work with the glue sticks– Activities like ‘tearing and pasting’ are fantastic for fine motor skills. It works on the hands while tearing bits of paper, pasting and the wrists while twisting the glue.
  4. Open door knobs and taps– Make you child independent and work on their fine motor skills at the same time.
  5. Kneading dough/ clay- This requires pressure of the entire hand and wrists and is a fun activity for children.
  6. Mix it up- Give them a spoon or ladle and ask them to stir things that you feel are safe. Give them a glass of juice or milk and let them mix the sugar in it. It works wonderfully on the wrists.
  7. Vertical Boards- Let them work on black/ white boards and let them write with chalks or white board markers. This requires the right amount of pressure on the wrists and the children love writing on them.
  8. Wring those clothes– Ask your little ones to wring the clothes before you put them out for drying. They could also use a sponge to wring and clean things or paint with it.
  9. Colouring– Always encourage your child to colour, even if they scribble. This works wonders!
  10. Play dough– Like I shared in my previous post, knead some dough at home and add food colouring to it. Let your child unleash his creativity while playing with the dough. This activity works on the entire hand, fingers and wrists.

Try out these activities and the ones I shared in my previous posts and do share your feedback with me. In my next post, I will share activities that help in building the gross motor skills. Enjoy your summer and make the best use of this time.

Stay tuned!

Work on your child’s finger dexterity this summer.

Hello!

All the lovely parents out there who are reading my blog, I hope you tried some activities I mentioned in my previous blog, to develop your child’s fine motor skills of the hand.

Today we shall continue with the same, but we’ll concentrate on developing the finger dexterity of the little ones. Before I share with you some activities to improve or develop the dexterity, let me share that it is the index finger which is usually most dexterous and sensitive finger of the hand. Now, how do we work on this?

Here are some activities you can easily do at home which will help your child.

  1. Finger painting– Bring out all the colors this summer and let your child unleash his creativity. Dip the finger in the paint and make cards, posters, decorate things and just play around. This activity is deeply loved by most of my students and can work wonders.
  2. Picking and Sorting– This is an easy one. Give your child a bowl with some assorted things and let them sort the things in separate bowls. If you’re doing this at home, use some pulses and rice and ask them to separate the two. Like I said in my previous post, if you involve your children in your household chores, you’re also teaching them to be helpful and responsible.
  3. Sand tracing– If you’re heading out to the beach this summer or if you have a sand pit near your house, let that be your child’s canvas.
  4. Tracing at home– Is it too hot to play in the sand? Well, provide your child with a large plate full of pulses, rice or some semolina. Let that be their canvas and they’ll have so much fun.
  5. Lego/ Blocks– Now this one is an absolute favorite of most children. Gift your child some blocks or lego to play with. Let them build their own buildings, animals and whatever they like. You will be surprised by their imagination and you can use these to teach them a thing or two about numeracy, colours, shapes, etc. This is a      ‘ Must- Have’ for every child. Every time their little fingers plug or unplug each block, they are working on their finger dexterity.
  6. Plastic scissors- There are ‘child- friendly’ scissors available in the market which can be of great help. Initially, provide them with an old newspaper and allow them to cut as they like. This one really helps in improving the finger dexterity and the hand muscles. When you see some improvement in their skill, then give them a page with dotted lines that you’ve drawn and ask them to cut along the dotted lines. As their skill improves, move onto figures and create some collages or posters, etc.
  7. Tearing and pasting- This activity is extremely beneficial for the little ones. Every time they tear a paper, they are working on the hand muscles primarily and when they paste, they use a certain pressure of the fingers to do so. Give them some colourful paper and let them create something they like.
  8. Stringing– If you have beads/ straws and a thread at home, allow them to string the beads. This is a fantastic exercise for the fingers. If you wish, you could use ‘penne pasta’ or ‘macaroni’ at home and ask them to string the pasta instead. The way they hold the string, pick and put the bead in, will help in developing their dexterity as well as concentration.
  9. Holding the spoon– Firstly, encourage your child to eat his/ her food on their own. You can be around them to ensure they eat properly, but please let them hold the spoon, make their bite and eat. This will make them more independent, teach them table manners, help them understand about portions and eventually you won’t be worried if they ate in school or not. This is also extremely important for their fine motor and oral motor development.
  10. Colouring– Like I mentioned in my earlier posts too, start by giving them thicker crayons and let them color. The more they do this, the better dexterity and concentration they will build.

Apart from the activities mentioned above, you could involve your child in some household chores like I mentioned in my previous post. Take their help in putting the clothes in the washing machine and when you put them out for drying, let them put the pegs on them. Ask for their help in cleaning small things, putting some things, like pulses, in a jar( even if they use the spoon for it, it helps).

Give  them jigsaws to play with. It works on the fine motor, concentration, reasoning and spatial skills.

Play some board games with your child. We all remember these from our childhood. Gift your child these memories too and simultaneously help them develop heir fine motor by playing with dice, cards, beads, etc. Use these to teach them about numeracy too. This could be a fun activity where the entire family comes together to play and create a thousand memories.

In my next blog, I will talk about developing the muscles of the wrists which are often ignored.

Stay tuned!

How can you help in developing the fine motor skills of your child?

As promised in my previous post, we will now work on developing the fine motor skills. Let us start by first understanding what ‘fine motor’ skills really are.

Fine motor is the coordination of small muscles in movements with the eyes. They are controlled by the nervous system and aid in the growth of intelligence. They develop continuously as we grow. Fine motor skills are involved in the smaller movements that occur in wrist, hands, fingers, feet and toes. Some examples would be picking up things between two fingers, writing, holding a spoon and even blinking.

If you would have read one of my previous posts, you would remember that I talked about using the correct pencils as per your child’s age, so that the child uses correct pressure as his nerves and muscles develop. The muscles of the arms and shoulders develop first, while the hands and fingers take longer. It is imperative that we work on our child’s fine motor skills before expecting them write properly.

Let us start by focusing on the hand first. How do we develop the muscles of the hand? Here are some activities you can do with your child which focus primarily on the development of hand muscles:

  1. Hand painting– Help your child in creating cards or paintings using this technique. Dip their palms in various colours and ask them to imprint it on paper. You will see it requires a certain pressure of the hand to imprint. This could also be a good opportunity to teach your child about various colours and well, in my experience, children love doing this.
  2. Clay modeling– This technique works wonders for the hands and fingers. You can buy a ‘Play Dough’ that is safe for your child or you can make some at home. Head to the kitchen and knead some dough. Yes, the dough we make for our daily routine! To make it fun, add some food colouring while kneading it and let your child create shapes and figures with it. You could also provide a small rolling pin that will enhance their muscle development further. This will also unleash their creativity and you could teach them about shapes too.
  3. Sand modeling– If this summer, you’re heading out to the beach, or if you can take them to the park where they can find some mud, let them build something out of it. Children love playing outside and if you’re worried about them soiling their clothes, well I would say that you should watch them play and you’ll see how happy they will be. Let them enjoy a nice summer bath later, but first, let them play!
  4. Crumbling Paper- This one helps a lot with weaker muscles. Provide your child with an old newspaper and ask them to crumble it into the tiniest ball they can. Once they do that, they can paint it in different colours. To add on, give them a string and a wooden straw which isn’t sharp, to string these balls into necklaces or wall hangings.
  5. Squeezing the sponge- All you mothers out there, hear me out. I know your children are at home during summers and you are finding ways to keep them occupied. Also, I know you and your child want to spend time together. Here is one solution- ask them to help you out in some chores at home. Next time you’re cleaning some kitchen slab or table, ask them to squeeze a sponge and give it you. This helps in their fine motor development and they feel connected to you. Also, you are teaching them to be helpful and independent at a very young age.
  6. Water spray bottles– Now I am sure most of you have some beautiful plants in your gardens or balconies. Get some water spray bottles that are easily available in the market. From now onward, ask your child to help you in taking care of the plants. They can spray on the leaves and you can use this opportunity to teach them a thing or two about plants.
  7. Wiping with duster- Sometimes, hand them a dusting cloth, and ask them to help you in wiping the dust off a table or chairs in your house. Maybe after the family eats their meal, your child could just help in cleaning the dining table, while you clear up the leftovers. These type of activities not only help in their fine motor development, but also teach them to respect all kinds of jobs. They also learn to be helpful and humble.
  8. Kitchen tongs– take a box full of small assorted things like bottle caps, lids, small balls, etc. Provide your child with a tong which isn’t sharp. Ask your child to pick up things from the box and sort them. The pressure used to grasp things will help in fine motor development. This will also be a good lesson in sorting. Also, please don’t throw used bottle caps and other such things. They can come in handy for various activities. They could also use it while clay modeling to make various shapes and designs.
  9. Clothes’ pegs– Next time you’re putting your clothes out for drying, ask your child to help you in putting the pegs on them. Another activity where you can work with your child while doing your household chores.
  10. Threads or Velcro bands- Use these to play with. Make some patterns around the fingers with threads and pull, play some games with these and you’ll see how much the children enjoy it.

 

Apart from the activities mentioned above there are some more things that can help like squeezy balls, toys, pulling off tape, squeezing the glue bottle, bubble wrap, etc. Focus on things that use pressure of the hand to do things.

In my next post, I will talk about developing the finger dexterity or fine motor skills of fingers. Stay tuned!

 

P.S- Always appreciate your child. Even for the little things they create or do. This will go a long way and will keep them at it. I shall discuss this in one of my future blogs.