An important part of development for kiddos is strengthening their fine motor skills. So many activities that are enjoyed during childhood naturally encourage this development, but it is something to be mindful of. Since kids love hands-on crafts, here are some crafts that are perfect for working on fine motor skills.
The What and Why of Fine Motor Skills
Let’s back up a minute and talk a bit more about what fine motor skills are and why they’re so important. Fine motor skills are movements that use our tiny hand and wrist muscles. They require more complex and detailed movement, as well as an ability to focus on the task at hand.
Think about some of the more intricate things adults are able to do with their hands: thinly slicing veggies, detailed paintings, applying makeup, and so on. This requires a specific skill to be able to first focus our brain on the small movements of our hands, and also be able to physically manipulate our hands in such ways. It becomes so second-nature to us as we grow, but it is a skill that required practice at one point in our lives!
Kiddos naturally do much of this at their own level through play. However, if for some reason they get behind with development, it can hinder their ability to do important life and learning tasks later on. Here are just some of the practical ways they’ll need to engage their fine motor skills as they grow:
- Tying shoelaces
- Brushing teeth
- Eating with a fork or spoon, or picking up smaller finger foods
- Fastening buttons
- Cutting with scissors
- Playing board games
- Using manipulatives
And the list goes on and on! Anything requiring the use of hands, requires the use of fine motor skills. So I’m sure you can see how important it is to stay on top of this development!
How to Develop Fine Motor Skills
As I already mentioned, kids will encounter opportunities to work on these skills throughout much of their natural play. But sometimes there can be gaps if we aren’t actively including it in their activities.
For example, my oldest daughter was late to develop her pincer grasp, which is a fine motor muscle that allows us to pick something small up with only our pointers finger and thumb. As a baby she obviously didn’t play with tiny toys, and I never realized giving her Cheerio’s to pick up and eat on her own would be such a big deal. She was never seriously behind, but it was an eye opener that while most things may develop naturally, we should still be mindful that they’re working all the different muscles in their hands.
So there’s one way to develop some fine motor skills: picking up Cheerios! There are a lot of different ways to engage those hand and wrist muscles needed. If you have kids who love to craft and create like I do, then you’ll be happy to hear that crafts are an excellent way to work on fine motor skills.
Here are some awesome crafts we love that double as being a great fine motor skills workout:
Crafts to Work on Fine Motor Skillls
Snail Craft for Kids by The Growing Creatives // threading, picking up items with pointer finger and thumb (pincer grasp)
Apple Pumpkin Cutting Craft by Busy Blooming Joy // cutting, hole punching, threading
Handprint Pineapple Craft by Family Focus Blog // cutting, tracing, taping
Turkey Weaving by The Growing Creatives // weaving (hand manipulation)
Watercolor with Droppers by A Daily Dose of Mom // squeezing droppers, holding hands steady
Easy Toddler Necklace by Mama Smiles // threading
Learning Feelings Cutting Activity by Two Pink Peonies // cutting
Hot Air Balloon Activity by Crafted With Bliss // tearing, glueing
Pointillism by Fluxing Well // using pincer grasp while painting
Woven Octopus Craft by Conservamom // weaving
Easy Fine Motor Sticker Activity by How Littles Learn // hand control, staying in the lines
Q-Tip Painting by Paper Scissors Craft // painting while using pincer grasp
Fall Leaves Butterflies Craft by One Perfectly Imperfect Mom // hand control, picking up small or flat objects
Paper Weaving Fall Printables by Artsy Craftsy Mom // weaving
Beginner Hand Sewing Projects for Kids by Mama Smiles // sewing
Pom Pom Mache Letters by LA Creative Mama // picking up small objects
Lion Weaving Craft by The Growing Creatives // weaving, pushing string through holes
Having Fun While Learning
All of these crafts are great ways to work on fine motor skills, and your kids will have a blast making them!! While fine motor skills are an incredibly important part of a child’s development, it doesn’t have to be difficult or complicated to practice. As you can see in this list, it’s very basic abilities that kids often end up exercising anyway, and those abilities just expand as they get older.
Have fun crafting and learning together, friends!