Grab a piece of paper and set it on the table in front of you. While holding your hand as if you are wearing a mitten, try to pick up the paper. Remember to keep all your fingers together like they would be if you actually had a mitten on. You are simulating what it is like for a very young child who has minimal fine motor skills.
Fine motor skills are used to perform intricate movements with your hands, fingers, wrists, feet, toes, lips, and tongue. They usually develop alongside the larger muscle groups used for bigger actions such as walking, running, sitting, and crawling. These are called gross motor skills.
To understand the difference between them consider this: you use your fine motor skills to feed yourself, while the gross motor skills allow you to push a shopping cart around the grocery store to load up on what you need to make dinner.
Fine motor skills take practice to develop just like anything else. To simulate this, now try to pick up the paper using a pincer grasp. By the time children are one year old, most are able to use their forefinger and thumb to grasp and pick up an object. You should find that while still challenging, it is much easier to pick up the paper using the pincer grasp than it was to use your whole hand.
To help a young child develop fine motor skills, we encourage them to do activities such as self-feeding, coloring, getting dressed, and stacking blocks. Eventually, they are able to pick up an object such as a piece of paper using the same method you would: a complicated series of muscle contractions that requires virtually no thinking. It’s no surprise that with the development of fine motor skills, children are also better able to perform tasks such as tying shoes and writing their names.
At World of Enrichment, we encourage fine motor skill development through our wide variety of classes for children. Painting classes offer practice manipulating objects such as paint brushes and oil pastels. Discovery Kids Puterbugs Technology Classes encourage small muscle groups to perform tasks like typing on a keyboard and moving a mouse. Musikgarten Musik Education classes provide chances to handle and play with musical instruments. All our classes afford plenty of opportunity for development of fine motor skills in some way or another.
Sign up for a Paint N Pour art party and you can work on your fine motor skill development, too!