Regardless of whether today’s kids will learn to print, write cursive, or type on a keyboard or screen – they’ll need to have strong fine motor skills. There are so many fun ways to build your child’s hand strength and coordination! At the library, we use Busy Boxes after storytimes with preschool-aged children; you can recreate these activities at home. Some of our boxes include:
Cut a shape out of heavy paper, punch holes along the edge, about ½” from the edge, and use an old shoelace or piece of yarn with tape on the end to create an aglet. You can make dinosaurs, cars, flowers, or whatever you’d like!
You can buy a kit with hefty (and child-safe) wooden beads and strings for lacing, or, to try this at home, use smaller beads (supervise young children closely!) laced onto pipe cleaners.
Cutting (or Tracing) Practice
Draw simple lines or shapes (straight lines, curvy lines, zig zags, triangles, squares), then have your little one use child-safe scissors to follow the lines. If you don’t feel ready for scissors, have them trace the lines with a crayon or marker. If you can laminate the sheet, you can use a dry erase marker and use it over and over again!
Show your child how to pinch the clothespin on one end to make the “mouth” open. Use the clothespin to pick up pom poms. Try sorting them into bowls by color or size.
You also might consider:
Whether the dough is homemade or store-bought, kneading, rolling, cutting, and otherwise shaping dough is great to build dexterity and hand- and finger-strength.
Set your child up somewhere you don’t mind getting messy, and let them go to town with finger paints, using a brush, or try making prints with different materials, like Q-tips, a plastic fork, or bubble wrap.
Cutting and pasting is great fine-motor practice. Combine a few of the above activities by drawing shapes, then having your child color the shape, cut it out, and glue it onto another piece of paper to make a shape collage.