Helping to develop the fine motor skills of your little one by incorporating a few simple games and activities is one of the easiest things to do. Benefits include improving hand-eye coordination and developing muscle strength, as well as encouraging cognitive growth, and the good news is that you don’t have to do anything too complicated or spend lots of money.
Fun with Play Dough
One of the most versatile materials for toddlers is play dough. It’s great for kneading and making creative shapes. Not only that you can introduce bits and pieces like brightly coloured buttons and shells to make weird and wonderful shapes, ideal if you want your kid to let their imagination run riot. This kind of activity helps to develop muscle co-ordination by twisting and squeezing the dough and improves motor skills.
Stringing Things Together
Toddlers love putting things together (and of course pulling them apart!). Get some dry pasta tubes and some string and you’ve got a game that can last for ages. Threading something like a pasta tube or a coloured bead onto a piece of string can be quite challenging at first but it is a great way to quickly improve your child’s motor co-ordination. You’ll be surprised how fast they progress and become more confident. A slight variation on this is sticking things in holes, which may sound dull to us but is actually quite exciting for a toddler. Get your colander and some pipe cleaners or spaghetti and you have a simple game that improves accuracy in no time.
Finger Painting is Fun
Creativity is important to us all and toddlers simply love it. Forget brushes, make some edible finger paints and allow your kid to go wild with their digits. It not only promotes better motor skills but also gives them something with a lovely gloopy texture to play with and you don’t have to worry about getting it in their mouths. All you need is some water, corn starch and few different kinds of food colouring and you’re good to go.
Drop the Ball
Discerning colours and putting them in the right container can help toddlers learn the difference between objects. All you need is a four or five coloured bottles and a bunch of corresponding coloured balls. Add numbers to the bottles and you’ve got a game where your kid can begin to learn the basics of counting. It develops co-ordination from picking up the balls and putting them in the top of the bottle and also helps improve cognitive ability.
Characterful Shapes Toys
Imaginative play with toys that are made to be handles, chewed and dropped by toddlers is also a great choice. Mushroom & Co do some lovely, colourful character toys in a rage of shapes and friends that are also made with natural rubber so they can be chewed and played with safely. Developing stories with shaped character where your toddler can play along is a fantastic way to engage imagination and motor skills at the same time!
These are just a few, simple but highly entertaining activities that can encourage fine motor skills with your infant. You’ll be amazed how quickly their dexterity improves and how creative and imaginative they can be.