Motor skills are important for children to develop when they are very young. They will come in handy as they get older and learn how to write, tie their shoes, and button up their coats.
Teaching your child these skills in the form of a craft or a game allows him or her to learn while also having fun.
Developing motor skills doesn’t require doing drills over and over. They can be fun and creative. If the craft or activity is something your child looks forward to doing, they’ll want to keep practicing so they can do better.
Learning these skills will help make them better prepared for when they go off to school and will help them succeed, so play and play often.
Here are a few examples of things you can do together.
Fun With Playdough
Playdough is an excellent tool to help children develop motor skills. Its squishy, it molds, and it can be used to create whatever you want. Instead of just giving your child Playdough, challenge them by asking them to create something specific. All you need is Playdough, a placemat to keep your table clean, and wipes on hand to clean up afterwards.
Start with something simple like shapes. Have your child make a circle, then a square, then a triangle. Once these become easy, pick more complex things like animals or types of food. Just be sure you’re child doesn’t eat any of it. Then, just for fun, have them make something up and see what they do. It allows them to use their imagination.
Home-made greeting cards are another way to work on motor skills and show off your child’s creativity at the same time. You’ll need different colored construction paper, stencils, child-safe scissors, glue sticks or tape, and markers.
First, decide with your child what kind of card to make. Maybe someone’s birthday is coming up. Maybe a major holiday is drawing near. Whatever it is, have stencils on hand for whatever you plan to make. Explain that you’re going to make a card for someone and you’ll need to trace and cut things out. Together, decide what stencil and colored paper to use. Then show your child how to trace the shape. Have him or her hold the marker, put your hand over theirs, and guide their hand so they see how it’s done. Let them do it again on their own.
Once the shape is drawn, have your child use the safety scissors to cut it out. In the beginning you may need to help keep the paper steady. If they get frustrated, just assure them that they will get better the more they do it. Trace and cut out as many shapes as you like. Once you have all your pieces, decide where to put them on your card. Have your child put glue on the back of the cut-out pieces and place them on the card. Keep doing this until all the pieces are in place.
Now that the card is decorated, it’s time to write. If your child has not yet learned how to write, do it for them, but say the letters out loud as you write so they learn to recognize them. If your child is a little older, have him or her write the greeting on the front of the card and on the inside. When that’s all finished, have them write their name so everyone will know who made such an amazing card. If the cards will be given away, take pictures of them so you can show your child how much they are improving each time they make one.
Olivia Nicholas is a writer and a mom to twin boys. She is always happy to share her passion for life and experiences through her work, and in her spare time works as a freelance writer for Storkie.