Fine motor skills allow us to use the small muscle groups in our hands, fingers, and wrists in a controlled way. We use fine motor skills to effectively complete basic tasks, such as getting dressed and brushing our teeth, and activities, such as writing or playing catch.
Working to build fine motor skills at a young age is important as mastering these skills helps kids to be personally, socially, and academically successful. This post outlines some of the key benefits of actively working on helping kids build fine motor skills and offers four printable fine motor skills activities for kids.
4 Benefits of Building Fine Motor Skills
As previously mentioned, fine motor skills play a role in kids’ ability to succeed on a personal, social, and academic level. Below are several of the main benefits of improving fine motor skills.
1. Helps kids use tools
In order to be able to draw, place objects, and eventually begin printing their letters, kids must have developed fine motor skills. As they continue to develop their skills, kids will be able to perform more activities, such as writing and getting dressed and require less help doing so.
2. Improves hand-eye coordination
The majority of hand movements require visual input to be effectively carried out. For kids to be able to successfully play catch, brush their teeth, and tie their shoelaces, hand-eye coordination is required.
3. Promotes independence and confidence
Kids who have an understanding of how their bodies work and are able to do more on their own. When kids are physically able to complete more tasks and are in the mindset of “I can do it on my own,” they will become more independent and feel more confident in themselves.
4. Supports cognitive development
Research suggests that improving fine motor skills in young children may help them succeed academically, as fine motor skills are potentially involved in the development of cognitive abilities. At the University of Nottingham School of Psychology, researchers found that fine motor skills were a significant predictor of math abilities in preschool students.
Printable Activities to Improve Fine Motor Skills
A great way to get kids to work on their fine motor skills is by incorporating fun printable activities into their routine. Activities specifically designed to work on fine motor skills require kids to engage the small muscles in their hands, wrists, and fingers by having them color, cut, trace, and place objects. Check out the four summer-themed printable fine motor skills activities below from the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences.
Sea Animals Coloring Printable
This activity involves using markers or crayons to color, which can aid in strengthening wrist stability. Additionally, kids can use scissors to cut out the sea animals, which will allow them to work on hand strength and hand-eye coordination.
Ice Cream Cone Grid Drawing Printable
Grid drawing activities can help children practice their observational skills. By splitting up the drawing into smaller pieces, children can start to understand proportions and learn how to observe details.
Beach Trip Line Tracing Printable
Line tracing is a great exercise for children who are just beginning to print their letters. The act of tracing helps children strengthen the muscles they write.
Rainbow Placement Printable
This placement activity works on a kid’s ability to grasp and place objects, which can be a valuable precursor to writing. This process works to strengthen the hand, wrist, and finger muscles and hand-eye coordination.
It’s important to remember to set reasonable expectations and be patient with kids. For kids who continue to struggle with fine motor skills, it may be worth working with an occupational therapist who can offer the support your child needs to succeed.