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Fine motor fun

Fine motor fun

Children in kindergarten and pre-primary are often referred to occupational therapists for fine motor issues. Pencil grasp is one of those issues, as well as difficulty using scissors or colouring. Self-care activities like dressing (buttons, zips), and turning taps on and off for hand washing may also pose a problem. Often, children who have fine motor difficulties will avoid craft or pencil and paper work because it feels difficult for them. So how do you know if your child needs help? Keep an eye out for any of the following, and seek the advice of an occupational therapist if you are concerned:

  • Avoidance or refusal of using pencils or crayons
  • Difficulty with learning to write name
  • Very faint/light pencil pressure, or very dark/heavy pencil pressure
  • Complaining of sore hands or getting tired quickly when sitting to do craft or colouring
  • Swapping crayon between left and right hands (or using both at the same time)
  • Frustration during activities that require both hands to work together (buttons, cutting etc.)
  • Difficulty using cutlery, opening lids on containers, opening food wrappers
  • Needs more help than you would expect with dressing

Did you know that there are lots of fun ways to build the skills needed for the activities listed above? And if your little one is a pencil and paper avoider, you will be happy to know that you can develop their skills without using pencil and paper. Why not try some of the following?

  • Use cheap spray bottles filled with water to “draw” on walls/fences outside
  • Use fingers to draw in sand, rice trays, shaving foam, condensation on the shower screen, or even a dirty car window
  • Use giant chalk to draw on pavements outside, or on the driveway
  • Knead dough, make and play with play dough, or cornflour slime
  • Help mum or dad hang up the washing – squeeze pegs or help carry the washing basket
  • Help water the garden using a watering can
  • Thread dry pasta onto string

There are endless possibilities when it comes to fine motor, so a visit to an occupational therapist will help identify the right type of activities for your child based on their individual strengths and needs.

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