August 20, 2019

Improving Fine Motor Skills in Your Preschooler

Kids HandsAs your preschooler is growing and adapting, you may notice a burgeoning interest in fine motor skill activities. At this age, kids enjoy experimenting with crayons and markers, and they are also learning independence. By providing a steady stream of activities designed to help improve these skills, you can give your child an edge as kindergarten draws closer. Make sure to take note of which activities your child is especially drawn to, and if your child isn’t showing interest in a particular activity, don’t force the matter.


Puzzles

Puzzles are a good choice for preschoolers. Look for heavy cardboard with large pieces or wooden puzzles. Help your child put the puzzles together until she gets the idea, and then encourage her to do it on her own. It’s okay if kids do the same puzzle over and over. Repetition is one of the most important ways that kids learn.

Play Dough

Not only is play dough fun to create with, the act of kneading it and pushing into different shapes helps strengthen your child’s hands, so that he will be more successful with other fine motor activities. In addition to helping build motor skills, play dough can also be used to teach your preschooler about colors and abstract imagery.


Chalkboard easels

Drawing on an upright easel with chunks of sidewalk chalk is a fun activity for kids that helps them develop their grip, as well as their imagination. The size and shape of sidewalk chalk is perfect for little hands and gives them a level of control they might not find with crayons.


Scissors

Older preschoolers can begin cutting paper with safety scissors. Show your child how to properly hold the scissors and always supervise. Give your child plenty of sturdy construction paper to cut up. A fun addition to this activity is to let them use glue sticks to attach the pieces that they cut together. You might be amazed at how creative your child can be.


Tracing Activities

As your child’s hands get stronger and you notice a more distinct finesse to his activities, you can begin providing more structure. Draw dashed lines with a pencil on a piece of paper and have your child trace the lines with a thick crayon or marker. As your child improves, add waves or zigzags to the lines for a bit of a challenge. This activity will prepare your preschooler for kindergarten and for learning to write letters.

10 Types of Toys for Toddlers

Choosing toys for toddlers is exciting, but it can sometimes be a little overwhelming. Should you look for toys designed to help your child learn? Should you just focus on toys that are fun to play with? Many of the best toys for toddlers are a mixture of both. If you are looking for a gift for a toddler, check out this list for some ideal options.

1. Shape sorters

Shape sorters help toddler’s master fine motor skills, relational skills and the concept of shapes. Play with your child, and ask questions like “What shape is this?” and “Where did the triangle go?” to help develop these skills.

2. Riding toys

Although the idea of making your toddler more mobile might make you cringe, these toys are actually great for helping develop large motor skills and coordination.

3. Stuffed animals

Stuffed animals are cute and cuddly and can also help your child develop a sense of empathy. Additionally, they help stimulate the imagination. You probably remember your own favorite stuffed animal from when you were a child.

4. Blocks

All types of building blocks are wonderful for developing fine motor skills. Most toddlers will also enjoy the activity of destroying that follows building, which actually helps teach causation.

5. Nesting cups

Not only do these help your toddler develop spatial reasoning as they get stacked and lined up, they can also be used in the tub or in a sand tray to help develop sensory skills.

6. Books

Books are phenomenal for every age, even toddlers. Choose books with simple language, rhymes and colorful pictures. Look for board books or books with different textures to help your child really explore. Take time to read to your toddler every day.

7. Crayons

Thick chunky crayons are fun for toddlers to experiment with. Ooh and aah over their masterpieces as they have fun and develop fine motor skills.

8. Balls

Balls are a great outdoor toy and help your toddler develop large motor skills. Toddlers can chase after balls, and can learn to kick them and even catch them if they are gently tossed.

9. Puzzles

Puzzles with large, sturdy pieces will help your toddler develop fine motor skills and spatial reasoning.

10. Push toys

Toys that your child can push and pull — toy lawnmowers, shopping carts and other items — help your child build large motor skills and will also help develop your toddler’s sense of balance and coordination.