Fine motor skills refer to the ability to use the smaller muscles in the body for precise tasks. These activities will help to develop fine motor skills for writing, drawing, using scissors, etc

Many school activities involve fine motor skills such as those listed above. Children with difficulties in this area may have:

  • poor eye-hand coordination
  • poor manipulative skills
  • immature drawing skills
  • poor handwriting and presentation skills
  • some perceptual difficulties
  • good auditory memory skills
  • confidence as speakers and listeners
  • good verbal comprehension skills
  • strengths in verbal and non-verbal reasoning
  • enjoyment in using multisensory strategies when learning.

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Activities to develop fine motor skills

All these activities are general and can be used to develop fine motor skills for most children in your class. However, some children may need a much more specific programme of activities. Occupational therapists and physiotherapists will need to assess individual children’s needs and advise on particular fine motor activities to address their specific difficulties.

  1. Take a line for a walk – see how long the pencil can stay on the paper.
  2. Sorting – small objects such as paper clips, screws, bolts, buttons, etc.
  3. Clipping things together – using pegs, paper clips, etc.
  4. Dressing up activities – involving the use of clothing fasteners such as buttons, zippers and laces.
  5. Post-a-shape – matching shapes to the correct opening.
  6. Bead threading – copy the pattern.
  7. Tracking and maze activities
  8. Cutting and pasting – patterns, pictures, classification activities, project scrapbooks.
  9. Tracing – lines, shapes and simple pictures.
  10. Copy writing patterns 1 – using coloured sand.
  11. Copy writing patterns 2 – using chalk.
  12. Colouring patterns and pictures – using different media.
  13. Dot-to-dot pictures – using numbers and the alphabet.
  14. Line-links – following the line from one end to the other (e.g. mouse to the cheese).
  15. Modelling – with clay, Plasticine etc.
  16. Painting and printing – using different sized brushes and different types of printing materials.
  17. Jigsaw puzzles – starting with simple peg puzzles with pictures and shapes that need to be slotted into the correct space, then introducing traditional puzzles of varying degrees of difficulty.
  18. Peg boards – these can be used to make simple or more ocmplex patterns.
  19. Building blocks – start with larger wooden ones if possible and then introduce smaller ones.
  20. Constructional apparatus –of varying degrees of difficulty (e.g. Duplo, Lego).
  21. Jacks or marbles – children learn to control fine motor movements with these games.
  22. Computer-aided picture and design activities
  23. Sewing activities
  24. Finger puppets
  25. Construction activities – involving the use of plastic nuts, bolts and screws.
  26. Musical instruments – playing as wide a range as available.

From  A-Z of Special Needs for Every Teacher by Jacquie Buttriss and Ann Callander

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