At birth your little one’s hands are clasped in a tight little fist which loosens and becomes useful to reach for objects at around 3 to 5 months. As your baby crawls and practises picking up smaller objects, the foundations for fine motor control are bedded down.
As a toddler your little one is now ready for refined use of his hands to stack blocks, scribble and use tools. At this stage, the choice of toys and activities for toddler is really important. Here are some wonderful activities and toys that will help you to be prepared-ish to enhance your baby’s refined fine motor skills:
- Blocks are a wonderful toy as your child has to grasp and release carefully when building a tower or toy train. The higher the tower the more refined skill is needed.
- Offer your toddler fat chalk or crayons to draw with. Let him draw with chalk on an outside wall (it will wash off) or stick up paper up on a wall so that your toddler has to draw with raised arms. This position develops important fine motor foundations such as shoulder stability and wrist control.
- Playing with musical instruments (such as a xylophone or drums) encourages bilateral hand control and stability in the shoulder, wrist and elbow – all of which are vital for refined hand skills.
- Play dough is a wonderful activity as little fingers get to shape and mould the dough while encouraging creativity at the same time.
- Stamping activities are great for grasp as well as encouraging pressure on the wrists and hands, which builds stability.
While these games seem far removed from the fine finger movement of writing, they are actually the best way to create a good foundation for fine motor skills.