Archive for the ‘fine motor skills warm up’ Category

Right or Left Handed? Some great fine motor activities to promote ‘preferred’ hand!

Most children start to have a preferred hand between 2 and 4 years. A lot by 3 years and the majority by school age. It is not unusual for children to still swap hands during activities. This may be due to tiredness or simply part of the development process.

A strategy to use to determine which hand is the ‘preferred’ or ‘dominant’ hand is to offer items in the CENTRE for your little one to choose. Items may be spoons, pencils, toys, drinks, snacks, clothing, books, scissors, sticker sheets etc. Your child will need to choose which hand they use.

It is extremely beneficial to practise lots of two-handed activities to help your child develop hand preference. Some fine motor activities that are fun and easy to practise at home include:

– catch/ throw/ bat/ bounce/ balls

– cutting out with scissors

– duplo/ lego, pull apart etc

– craft/ drawing , stickers, stamping, stencils, tracing, glue stick activities

– cooking activities/ opening containers, stirring, pouring into bowl, cracking eggs.

– make believe- washing up, pushing dolls pram, work bench

– hammering/  screw driver

– lacing cards/ threading beads

– undoing/ doing up fasteners, zippers, lids, buttons, press studs, clips on dress ups, hand bags etc.

– balloon games, hitting and catching with two hands

– ‘bubbles’

– washing car (or anything around the yard!)

– sand pit games, bucket and shovel etc.

It will become clear which hand your child  ‘prefers’ to use and it is recommended they are then encouraged to regularly use this hand for fine motor activities/ everyday activities.

Try to encourage your child to consistently use this hand – describe it as their ‘doing hand’ and the other one as their ‘helping hand’.

If your child begins an activity with one hand it is recommended they complete the activity with the same hand. Even if it means a break is required.

Fine Motor Activities Warm Up

It is beneficial to do some “warming up”  before you start practicing and enjoying your fine motor activities. This helps the big muscles in the body get ready for play and action!

The postural muscles (muscles of the body that hold it in a natural position) with the other larger muscles (including shoulder muscles) when warmed up or ‘switched on’, create a stable base of core muscles and support to help the muscles of the fingers and hands work more efficiently.

Try a variety of gross motor activities (activities using large muscles of the body) such as:

* Animal walks- bear walk, crab walk, donkey kicks

* Wheelbarrows

* Hitting balloon into the air

* Using a cardboard roll, hold with two hands at chest height and bunt balloon

* Ball skills, start with a larger sized ball, throw and catch, bounce pass, bouncing

* Wall pushups, face wall in standing, legs positioned about 25-35cm away from wall, hands on wall and do standing push ups. For something different add a clap between each push up.

* Exercise ball games (maybe mini sized one), rolling, lying over, using hands to walk off ball, picking up with two hands and throwing.

* Play on monkey bars and ladders 

* Sandpit or garden play- push childs wheelbarrow, dig, rake, carry buckets of sand.

* Bat and ball games, T-Ball, cricket, tennis …

* Wash the car, cubby or kids own bike, involving squeezing out the sponge

* Building activities, hammering, sawing, carrying wood and tool box

A lot of the activities mentioned involve “weight-bearing” through arms, to encourage these muscles to wake up and form a sturdy foundation for doing fine motor activities. Children tend to enjoy lots of the activities used in warm up and are then ready to focus on the fine motor activities presented to them.