Friday, November 11, 2016

Fine Motor Fun

All children need fine motor skills to be successful in life's functional activities. It is a part of development that supports all the things we do with our hands and fingers working together. I've researched some unique and fun ways to incorporate different play activities that support fine motor skills. 

Fine motor skills definition: involve the use of smaller muscles of the hands to complete tasks. Examples include buttoning, opening containers, and manipulating small objects. Below are a few different fine motor activities that Occupational Therapist's can incorporate into therapy sessions. They are wonderful activities because they can be graded up or down, changed with different ideas and items, and are wonderful sensory experiences. One of the most important thing I've learned being a student is to find activities that the children are interested in. This will help motivate them which will in turn increase visual attention which affects all activities. 

1. Clothesline Activity: This idea is simple, cheap, and involves a pincer grasp. The best part is, there are different sizes of clothespins available so you can grade the activity up or down depending on the child. All you need is yarn, clothespins, and pieces of paper (to create clothes, towels, socks, etc) or real barbie/doll clothes. This promotes bilateral integration, a mature pincer grasp, finger strengthening, crossing midline (based on where the objects are in front of the child), and hand-eye coordination for a 3D project.
To add a fun sensory twist, make a water/soap activity by scrubbing the clothes in water and then hanging them up to dry. Below is an example of this activity: 

2. Painting without a paintbrush. Painting is a great activity because all kids love to paint and it adds a sensory experience of different textures to paint with items that aren't a typical paint brush. 
Ideas: Half of a potato, apple, broccoli, mushroom, orange, lemon, and the list can go on. Using these foods promote hand control of a hand grasp and is support hand/finger strengthening. 

Bubble wrap painting: This provides auditory feedback and finger isolation (only using the pointer finger). It is a great sensory experience overall. 

Another great idea is to incorporate clothespins with painting by having a variety of items to snatch with the clothespins and begin painting! Below is a great picture of different options (feather, pipe cleaners, pom pom balls, string):

Sponges: This is a great activity to grade up or down because you can either keep it a big sponge or cut the sponge up into smaller pieces to incorporate a mature pincer grasp into holding the piece of sponge. You can also have the child help cut the pieces of sponge. 

3. Beans and Glue Creations: Picking up one bean at a time is a great activity for developing a mature pincer grasp. Glue is a great hand strengthening activity of squeezing the glue bottle to place the beans onto the glue. 

4. Pennies! These are great because they are very accessible and have a variety of options to use to incorporate fine motor skills. Stacking pennies one by one, scrubbing pennies one by one in water, placing pennies one by one into a piggy bank or container with a penny slot, and tracing shapes/letters with the pennies. 

"Play is the highest form of research" -Albert Einstein 
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