What is Fine Motor?
Fine motor skills are a person’s ability to control the small movements of the hands and fingers. They are necessary for performing everyday academic, play, and self care skills.
It also includes dexterity and eye-hand coordination which involve smaller muscles for functional activities such as being able to cut with scissors, color with crayons and pencils, paint using a paintbrush, fasten buttons, eat using utensils and play with small objects such as lego, beads and puzzles. Dexterity is a term used to describe how we use our fingers and hands to grasp and manipulate objects efficiently.
Why is Fine Motor important?
Fine motor skills are important for school and home activities as they allow a child to perform everyday tasks. Children should be encouraged to play, explore and interact with a variety of items to promote fine motor growth. Many toys, clothing fasteners, play dough and craft supplies (scissors, glue, beads) are all tactile examples of practices that facilitate fine motor development. Even doing age appropriate chores such as cleaning, folding laundry and cooking are great ways to help build fine motor skills. These types of “play” activities and manipulation skills will actually help improve hand strength, dexterity and eye hand coordination to prepare a child to hold and use crayons, pencils and markers, cut with scissors and progress to handwriting abilities.