Do you keep hearing about fine motor skills, but you’re not quite asure what they really are? We have small muscles in our bodies that are essential to our movement and daily lives. Their synchronisation of the hands and fingers with the eyes all goes back to the nervous system, and boosting such skills early on is crucial.
“Kids are developing at a much faster rate than before, given their exposure to a variety of stimulants and a globalised environment,” says Monica Valrani, CEO at Ladybird Nursery.
“The importance of acquiring fine motor skills is as crucial as ever, especially as these tend to be overlooked in the age of technology.”
With kids increasingly depending on, and interacting with technology (yes, they’re holding those iPads), the creation of a physical skillset is often delayed.
What many parents may not realise is that fine motor skills play a key role in a child’s ability to cope with their surroundings – so getting the kids involved with activities that would help that goal must be encouraged.
“It’s beneficial to set up practical life and sensorial experiences. Plus, providing them with various types of puzzles has been proven to be of great benefit. Outside of the classroom, students can further fuel this through things such as sand play in a sensory garden or taking part in activities in a planting area,” adds Valrani.
“When importance is placed on such skills, kids will be able to grow their abilities across the board, be it with their letter formations, completing tasks within set times, manipulating materials or completing self-care tasks,” she explains.
“Investing in ways to improve motor skills also helps with a range of other cognitive abilities. The more a young child is exposed to movement, new experiences and items, the better their systems will be at adapting to such changes in the future,” she says.
Some key methods educators use to introduce motor skill development in a child’s daily routine include:
- Threading and lacing using visually stimulating coloured laces and beads
- Pouring activities using beans, pasta and water
- Pegging clothes
- Transferring items from one bowl to another using spoons, tweezers, pipettes or tongs
- Opening and closing locks with keys
Research has also shown that working with Play-Doh, as well as building with Lego blocks and experimenting with storage items that include boxes, jars and bags promotes the development of fine motor skills too.
“We tend to use a lot of Maria Montessori’s methods when it comes to fine motor skills within the classroom. Many of our activities are practical and represent work that’s usually done in real life, achieved through the use of everyday items found at home,” says Valrani.
In order to keep up with the momentum of growth, parents can also help the kids at home by believing in their capability to do tasks independently. Mums and Dads, they can get dressed and eat on their own and – depending on how old they are – even do a lot more.
Supporting your kids and giving them the tools they need goes hand in hand with trusting their abilities.
Ladybird Nursery, various locations including Al Wasl Road, Jumeirah 1, ladybirdnursery.ae (04 344 1011).