Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Are you wondering whether your child is where he or she “should” be when it comes to fine motor skills? Do you ask yourself how you can help your toddler develop fine motor skills? Check out this post for fine motor skills milestones and the best activities to help develop fine motor skills in toddlers
Fine motor activities for toddlers and preschoolers

This post has been updated in February 2015 with new graphics and links. Despite all my worries about Smarty’s fine motor skills as a 2 year old, she is completely on level now with her fine motor skills as a 8 year old :) Disclosure: I am an Amazon associate and this post contains affiliate links. For full disclosure, please click here and thank you for supporting my blog!

Fine Motor Development Milestones

Despite her academic talents, Smarty is less than stellar when it comes to motor skills, both gross and fine. Just to see where she should be, I checked one of my favorite sites, BabyCenter, for their milestone chart on fine motor development:
At age... Most can... May also...
2 Years • Stack five or more blocks• Turn a doorknob• Hold crayons or pencils (but not as easily as an adult)• Draw a horizontal line• Manipulate eating utensils (but not holding them the way an adult would)• Suck through a straw• Remove shoes and socks• Work puzzles with knobs • Remove other clothes (without buttons), diaper• Scribble• Brush teeth (with help)•Wash hands
3 Years • Stack nine or ten blocks• Undress self (but still needs some help dressing)• Wash and dry hands• Feed self• Copy a rough circle and a cross• Work puzzles with large pieces• Use blunt scissors• Pour liquid from a pitcher (with spills)• String large beads

• Brush teeth (with help)
• Fasten large buttons• Use blunt scissors to cut a straight line• Eat from a spoon without spilling
4 Years • Dress and undress (but can't tie bows, zip up zippers)• Brush teeth without help• Draw simple shapes (roughly) when asked• Build block structures that are vertical and horizontal• Cut around pictures with scissors• Fold a napkin into a triangle or rectangle • Draw a person with three parts• Bathe self without assistance• Use toilet alone and wipe• Begin to make the letters of own name

Is My Child on Track?

Scissor Skills
Smarty is 2 years and 4 months now, and she can sort of do what a two-year-old is expected to do, but she is completely not interested in dressing herself, gets upset faced with a closed door, and quickly loses interest in the games involved blocks unless they are Duplo blocks. It's the same with feeding - she can use a spoon and a fork, but she also quickly loses interest and either switches to hands or asks to be fed. So about two months ago we launched a "program" to help our daughter with her fine motor skills. Of course, her preschool with its arts projects and older kids helped a lot, but we also tried to increase her exposure to activities requiring fine motor skills:
  • Playing with play-dough - rolling, shaping, cutting, etc.
  • Painting with brushes, I highly recommend Crayola pot set, the colors are so brilliant.
  • Getting her toddler scissors. They are still big for her, but she is extremely interested in cutting and pasting (with help).
  • Scribbling with crayons and on the magnetic doodle board. That's where we can see the improvement most.
  • Playing with stickers.
  • Building with Duplo.
  • Playing with chunky puzzles

Best Fine Motor Activties for Toddlers

10 Best Fine Motor Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers

As I was updating this post, I pulled together the best fine motor activities from other bloggers to serve as a resource for others. I wish we did some of them when our daughter was young, especially pipecleaners! Disclaimer: Many of those activities assume that your child has already graduated from “put everything into your mouth” school. If not, please supervise them closely.

Your Turn

If you have a child under 3, what is their favorite thing to do?

More Activities for Toddlers?

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Babette said...

She may enjoy playing with ice tongs also--with ice or with other things. Start with bigger things to grab and progress to smaller itmes. For most kids, this process takes lots of time over a year or more. But when they can "do ice tongs," they are ready to move to scissors. What's nice about the tongs is that kids think they are cool!