Fine Motor Fun
OWATONNA, Minn. 06/19/2012--Helping your kids develop their fine motor skills—or the abilities that allow them to perform daily tasks like feeding, dressing and playing—can be fun, creative and exciting for the whole family. But, what happens if your child can’t master them? Fine motor skills, such as picking up and moving small objects, are requirements for more difficult tasks such as handwriting. Any shortfalls in fine motor performance could be caused by weakness, poor coordination, decreased motivation or a medical diagnosis. During school, kids have many opportunities to work on fine motor skills and it’s important to encourage their development through fun and motivating activities.
One fun way for kids to learn about fine motor skills is through craft projects—cutting, stringing beads, drawing and coloring are great ways to start. Begin by creating an example of the craft you would like your child to make—this will increase their motivation and improve their performance. Invite other kids to participate to make it a social event; this will also encourage them to perform at their best. If you’re looking to increase participation and promote creativity, try letting the child choose the activity and pick appealing supplies.
It’s also important to introduce age appropriate fine motor skills at the right time in a child’s development. For example, scissor use can be introduced around two years with adult supervision. Children can start playing with crayons at 15 to 18 months through scribbling and copying designs. Feeding is a great way for kids to practice picking up small items by feeding themselves finger foods. Also, helping children become more independent with dressing can assist with fine motor performance; fasteners such as zippers, snaps, ties and buttons help increase strength and coordination.
Even with extra practice, some children continue to have difficulty with fine motor tasks. It’s important to get involved early to avoid delay which can affect performance at home, play and school.
Occupational therapists are a great resource in improving fine motor performance. A doctor’s order is required prior to seeing an occupational therapist. Once an initial evaluation is complete, individual treatment sessions and home exercise programs can be developed to assist children in their ability to complete age appropriate fine motor skills. To schedule an appointment or for more information, call 507-977-2150 or visit owatonnahospital.com.
Jayd Sharpe is an occupational therapist at Sister Kenny Rehabilitation Institute – Owatonna. You can reach her at 507-977-2150.
About Sister Kenny Rehabilitation Institute
Sister Kenny Rehabilitation Institute, part of Allina Health, specializes in treating people with spinal cord injury, brain injury, stroke, cancer, work or sports- related injuries and neurological or muscular disorders including arthritis, and multiple sclerosis and speech-language disorders.
About Allina Health
Allina Health is dedicated to the prevention and treatment of illness and enhancing the greater health of individuals, families and communities throughout Minnesota and western Wisconsin. A not-for-profit health care system, Allina Health cares for patients from beginning to end-of-life through its 90+ clinics, 11 hospitals, 15 pharmacies, specialty care centers and specialty medical services that provide hospice care, oxygen and home medical equipment, and emergency medical transportation services. Learn more at allinahealth.org.###