A, B, C….
It is so exciting to see your child write their first letter! I remember when my daughter wrote the first letter of her name. I was so proud of her! How did she get to that point? What had to happen before she was able to do write that first letter?
We do not learn to walk before we crawl, so with writing we must acquire skills that lead us to be able to write…
Developing fine motor skills is where it all begins. According to the National Childcare Accreditation Council, “fine motor skills involve the use of the small muscles in the fingers, hand and arm to manipulate, control and use tools and materials.”
Fine motor skills are so important when it comes to our children’s growth because it lets them build up and use those small muscles that allow your child to eventually be able to press down and write.
When your child enters a preschool environment we are working on diverse and creative ways to further develop these small hand muscles. We set up different activities that allow children to manipulate a variety of items that challenge those little muscles to move and grow stronger.
Even though children spend time at school working on fine motor activities, parents can also do this at home while connecting with your child and having fun! Making this practice a fun and challenging experience is the easiest way to help your child further develop these skills.
Here are a few examples of what we do in our Prekindergarten classroom, which you could do at home:
- Dipping marbles in paint and having your child paint with them. Not only are you creating a work of art and having fun, but having your child pinch and hold the marble steady between their fingers is hard work. This is building up those finger muscles and practicing movement.
- Having your child simply cut paper is an easy way to strengthen fingers. So you have a pile of papers to be shredded? Done! This is an easy way to strengthen finger muscles and get movement going.
- Have your child tear off Band-Aids and apply to a cookie sheet, then have them rip the Band-Aids off. This would work great on a long car ride! It keeps them occupied in the backseat and busy working on their fine motor skill development.
- Lacing is also a fun activity for preschoolers. You can easily create this at home by cutting out a shape and hole punching around the edge. Have your child use yarn or string to start lacing through the holes.
- Pipe cleaners and beads are also a fun, cheap, and easy way to practice fine motor skills. Recently, we took different colored pipe cleaners and turned it into an octopus. Then we had the kids match and string on colored beads. They loved doing this! It is also a quiet/calm activity once they get to “beading”, the children really focus and work hard.
These are just a few fun ways to help your child’s development of their fine motor skills, which is a part of the foundation to writing. Working on these skills early will help them to be confident and successful when they are first beginning to write. Just remember to have fun!
-Ms. Whitney, Curriculum Instruction Coordinator