Fine Motor Activities Don't Work...Unless You Do!

I'm sure some of you are probably offended by my title. Let me preface this post by saying I don't think you're lazy, and I'm certain your creativity in creating or finding fine motor activities to use with your little  ones goes above and beyond average.

The problem is that without understanding WHAT you're using the activity for - i.e. HOW it's helping your child or student - you may be completely missing the boat. Fine motor skills, just like all other skills, develop in a certain order. Lets use my daughter as an example!

Santa was very good to her, as you can see by this cool present she got!

Obviously this is a great craft set to work on her fine motor skills and is totally age-appropriate. Love it. HOWEVER, the little sneak was totally cheating and not using a pincer grasp (pads of thumb and index finger) to pick up and string the beads. In stead, she was pinching with her thumb and middle finger, something I commonly see in my practice in kids with delayed fine motor skills. And being the dedicated OT that I am, there was no way I was letting her slide!

Telling her to use her index finger didn't I resorted to making it so she COULDN'T (evil, I know...again, it's that OT in me!). 

By simply putting her middle and ring fingers into one of the key rings from the craft set. This helped by forcing her to use her index finger to grasp. It was also comfortable to her (didn't cause pain!) and we had a great laugh. And, when she wanted to take them off, off they went!

Moral of the story: be sure your fine motor activity is working on your child's needs, and be sure to watch for anything out of he he ordinary. If you see something "funky", do the OT-thing and make a small change to help facilitate the skills you want to improve. 

Another great idea for pincer grasp is to cutt off the thumb from an old mitten or maybe even a small hole in an old sock. Put it on the child's hand with only the thumb and index finger through the hole. This will make it more difficult for them to use the other fingers (although I've seen some tricky 3 & 4 year olds do it!) and will help strengthen the muscles used to coordinate this type of grasp.

Do you have activities that you rely on to help with certain skills? Ideas to help with certain skills? Questions about how to adapt an activity? Leave your comments below! Above all, it's important to not only provide a child wit a fun, engaging activity but also for YOU to be engaged as well. You'll be surprised at what you'll see, what you'll learn, and how creative you can get with making small changes to help that child grow!

Keep breaking crayons...



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