Development and mastering of the gross and fine motor skills is one of the most important milestones of the toddlerhood phase. As the child grows up the child’s gross motor skills develop before his fine motor skills.
The gross motor skills include larger actions where the child makes use of his arms, legs, feet or his entire body. Examples: crawling, walking, jumping, etc.
The fine motor skills for toddlers include smaller actions which involve the fingers, wrist, etc which involve the smaller or finer muscles in the body. Examples: tearing a paper, making smaller pieces of a chapatti with your fingers, kneading dough/ clay, etc.
It is important for one to as parents to help child develop both the gross and fine motor skills, the reason being that this is the phase when children start schooling. Although the scenario of education and the schooling system in India is gradually changing, but once in school, children need to use their fine motor skills more effectively more over because they need to use their fingers and other finer muscles for the activities and academic work in school like drawing, writing (an action that children need to do most of the time when they are in school) and learning to use a computer (which starts at the pre – primary section in many schools)
Why is it important to develop fine motor skills for toddlers?
Developing fine motor skills for toddlers is crucial, as it helps them strengthen their muscles from an early age. This is especially important for children in the 7th to 10th grade who may struggle to complete exams due to finger pain. Parents can incorporate simple activities into their daily routine to enhance their child’s fine motor skills. These activities can be enjoyable and combined with playtime. By spending just a few minutes each day on this, we can keep toddlers engaged while achieving our goal of promoting fine motor skill development.
10 Novel Ideas to Develop Fine Motor Skills for Toddlers
To promote fine motor skills for toddlers, consider engaging them in the following activities:
- Separating green peas from the pod.
- Sorting vegetables after a market visit, which also aids in recognizing colors, numbers, and vegetables.
- Sorting mixed pulses (under supervision).
- Clay modeling to create shapes and objects using colorful clay available in the market.
- Stringing beads of different shapes, sizes, and colors to enhance coordination and color recognition.
- Wooden puzzles with increasing complexity to improve coordination and problem-solving skills.
- Paper tearing and crumpling for a fun and engaging activity.
- Drawing and scribbling with thick wax crayons to develop finger grip.
- Allowing toddlers to eat parathas, chapatis, or dosas on their own, encouraging self-sufficiency and fine motor skill development.
- Introducing a coin box activity to teach the importance of saving.
By incorporating these activities into their routine, parents can help toddlers enhance their fine motor skills while making learning enjoyable and promoting fine motor skills for toddlers.
A few tips for parents:
- When doing the activity with green peas, kindly open the pod before giving it to the toddler and ensure that there are no worms in the pod.
- When buying clay from the market for child, kindly unsure that you are buying clay of a good quality so that the residue of the clay/ color does not remain on your child’s palm/ fingers after the activity.
- You may also use firm dough kneaded for the chapattis at home in place of the readymade clay bought from the market.
- One can come up with many more activities similar to those mentioned above. But make sure you start with simple tasks/ activities first so that they are not too difficult for them. Too difficult tasks right in the beginning may lead to the child giving up trying the task.
- Place the activities in rotation so that there is something new for the child to look forward to while developing his skills. The activities in the same order or done too frequently may lead to monotony and boredom.
Article by Deepali Kulkarni
Deepali has a BA in sociology from Pune University; Masters in Social Work from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (Mumbai); PG Diploma in School Psychology from Janana Prabodhini Institute of Psychology. She has the experience of working in the field of Family & Child Welfare since the last 15 yrs. She is currently a freelancer with 3 different adoption agencies. She is an adoptive parent herself.