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10 activities that help develop your child’s fine motor skills

1. Playdough Fun: Give your child playdough to squeeze, roll, and shape. Encourage them to use their fingers to create various objects or practice cutting with plastic/child sized scissors.

2. Threading Beads: Provide colorful beads and a string for your child to thread. This activity helps improve hand-eye coordination, bilateral coordination, and fine motor control.

3. Building with Blocks: Let your child build towers or structures using blocks or Legos. This activity strengthens hand muscles and enhances hand dexterity. When using both hands, it helps with bilateral coordination.

4. Puzzles: Introduce age-appropriate puzzles that require manipulating small pieces. This helps improve hand strength, finger coordination, and problem-solving skills.

5. Sticker Art: Invite your child to make sticker collages or decorate cards by peeling and sticking stickers. This activity improves finger dexterity and precision.

6. Finger painting: Give your child washable paint and brushes (if not wanting to use their fingers/hands). If too messy at the table, you can always use washable paint while in the bathtub (or bathtub crayola paint). This activity helps refine finger movements and works on hand-eye coordination.

7. Cutting Practice: Provide child-safe scissors and encourage your child to practice cutting paper or playdough. Start with simple lines and progress to more complex shapes.

8. Tearing Paper: Give your child old magazines or scrap paper and let them tear it into small pieces. This activity helps develop finger strength and control.

9. Clothespin Games: Set up a game where your child can pick up small objects like cotton balls or pom-poms using clothespins. This enhances finger strength and coordination.

10. Buttoning and Zippering: Choose clothing items with buttons, zippers, or snaps, and encourage your child to practice dressing independently. You can bring out costumes (Halloween costumes from the year before?) for dress up and practice putting them on/off. This activity improves finger movements and self-help skills.

Remember, it's important to tailor these activities to your child's age and abilities.

Provide supervision, adjust the difficulty level as needed, and always make it a fun and enjoyable experience for them.

Have fun and be playful!

Thanks for reading,

Jessica Earle, Occupational Therapist

New Leaf Occupational Therapy

Mobile/Virtual therapy practice based in Halifax, Nova Scotia

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