Monday, June 16, 2014

We hear a lot about fine motor skills development and practice when our children are toddlers and preschoolers. But does the need for motor skills practice disappear when they reach school age?
Planet Smarty Pants: Fine Motor Skills for Big Kids

Are You Worried About Summer Slide?

A lot of people are rightfully worried about “summer slide” for their kids. I am not fretting much about academics, but I am worried about my daughter’s fine motor skills and her ability to master cursive in the third grade. I wouldn’t say that she is significantly behind, but I could compare her writing samples with other kids’ work in the classroom this year and see where she is at. Interestingly, I could see clearly that boys are lagging behind girls in their ability to control their pencils, and that my daughter, is on the lower end of “average” for this skill, which might explain why she is a reluctant writer. One can argue that handwriting is less important in this age of electronic devices, however, school work does require progressively more writing, and I wouldn’t want Smarty to struggle just because writing is mechanically difficult for her. So I have a sneaky plan to have this summer as a summer of fine motor skills for her, and it doesn’t mean spending a lot of time writing – she “abhors” (her word) doing it and resists it as much as she possibly can.

20 Ways to Practice Fine Motor Skills


I had to sit down with my trusted notebook and brainstorm how we can give more workout to those little fingers than they are getting while turning pages of a book or pressing keys on a computer keyboard. As a 7 year old, my daughter is a little old to do traditional preschool fine motor work, but some of those activities scale up surprisingly well, and some will hopefully stretch her dexterity a little farther.
  1. Try any musical instrument, almost all of them require high degree of dexterity.
  2. Make jewelry with a Rainbow Loom or with beads.
  3. Peel potatoes, cut with a real knife (or a butter knife if motor skills are behind)
  4. Knead dough and clay.
  5. Make concoctions for play that require kneading.
  6. Practice different knots, tie shoes.
  7. Build something using a glue gun.
  8. Sew, knit or crochet.
  9. Build something that involves a hammer and a screwdriver.
  10. Play Cat’s Cradle
  11. Try a sport that requires dexterity – archery or ping pong might be good!
  12. Fold origami.
  13. Make paper dolls and clothes for them.
  14. Make fuse beads designs.
  15. Practice make up and face painting.
  16. Make small things that require precise control – decorations for a doll house, bottle cap jewelry, matchbox pets.
  17. Make glue-salt-watercolor paintings – squeezing glue is a great exercise.
  18. Learn some sleigh-of-hand magic tricks.
  19. Build with straws and pipecleaners (cutting pipecleaners and straws requires hand strength).
  20. Learn to juggle (improves hand eye coordination).

Your Turn

What do you think are best ways to encourage fine motor skills practice for big kids?

More Hands-on Work for Fine Motor Skills?

Follow my Pinterest board Concoctions for Play. Many recipes and activities are very tactile and involve a workout for little fingers.

2014 After School Link Up Hosts

Share Your After School Week

School might be over, but lifelong learning never stops. We would love to have you link up your School-Age Post (Ages 5 and up) about your summer learning including Crafts, Activities, Playtime and Adventures that you are doing to enrich your children's lives. When linking up, please take a moment to comment on at least one post linked up before yours and grab our after school button to include a link on your post or site! By linking up you're giving permission for us to share on our After School Pinterest Board or feature on our After School Party in the upcoming weeks! Don't forget to follow along and join our After School Enrichment Community.


maryanne @ mama smiles said...

What a great list of ideas! I love your visual for this post, too.

Every Star Is Different said...

Great ideas for fine motor activities. Our oldest is a "reluctant writer" to put it mildly, and we can usually get him to do things with tools or kitchen utensils.

Ticia said...

My brain is not working right now that I can't think of any others to add in. It's a great round of suggestions.

jeannine said...

The kiddos have done a bit of sewing and stitching art. Sewing an actual project is quite challenging and develops fine-motor-skills. So happy I don't have sew all of our clothes by hand!

Anonymous said...

This is a great list of activities to do for fine motor in older kids. Thanks for sharing this great resource. I know many parents do worry about the summer slide, this list is certainly going to help prevent that!

Thank you for stopping by the Thoughtful Spot Weekly Blog Hop this week. We hope to see you drop by our neck of the woods next week!