Ways to Help Children Develop Their Fine Motor Skills

stacking cups

Fun Activities to Develop Fine Motor Skills

There are many ways to help children develop fine motor skills at an early age. Probably the most common activity that allows children to practice their fine motor skills is through play. It has already been proven by many studies that children develop and learn through play. This is one of the main reasons why toys like stacking cups that are designed to be simple, fun and developmental are popular among children and parents alike.

It is important to develop fine motor skills at an early age. Once children grow older and become less dependent on their parents to do things for them, their activities often involve using fine motor skills. Simple actions and movements like tying shoelaces, combing their hair or using utensils when eating are only some of the actions that require good fine motor skills.

So what are fine motor skills?

Fine motor skills are skills and abilities that use a small group of muscles like those of the hands, wrist and fingers. Regular practice and use of fine motor skills can result in more precise movements of the hands like those of a pianist or a painter. Conversely, loss of specific fine motor skills is possible if not used for a very long time. Moreover, injuries and illnesses could result in impairment of fine motor skills.

At what age do these skills develop?

During a baby’s first 3 months, she begins to move her hands. Initially she will just move her hands towards her mouth and then she will eventually use both hands to hold objects and toys. However, she still lacks the dexterity and fine motor skills to hold or pick up objects using her hands and fingers. With regular practice, she would eventually develop her fine motor skills and hand eye coordination and would be able to pick up toys and objects without any difficulty. Furthemore, she would also be able to transfer toys and objects from one hand to another.

When is the right time to introduce stacking cups and toys?

When to introduce stacking cups to your child depends entirely on her developmental milestone. But the general consensus is between 13 - 16 months. During this time, your child would already have developed dexterity and fine motor skills in both hands. However, do not expect that your child can stack the cups correctly or in the right order. If your child still does not know how to nest or stack his toys, you can let him watch you do it and ask him to do it afterwards.

How do you help your child develop fine motor skills?

There are many ways to help your child develop his fine motor skills. Initially, you want to offer your child to stack common household objects like cardboard boxes and cups on top of each other. As he develops his fine motor skills, you could then buy him a set of stacking cups. We highly recommend buying stacking cups that are multi-purpose. There are many stacking cups that are good for stacking as well as teaching children about colours and basic numeracy.

During your child’s bath time, you can let him bring a cup into the tub and fill it with water. If you have a garden, you can ask your child to help you out. Children love to play in the mud so you can ask him to dig a plant hole and fill it with seeds.

When your child already knows how to write and use crayons, you can encourage him to draw a picture of his favourite superhero and colour it however he wants.


Next Up: What Are Motor Skills?