Fine motor skills are imperative to proper growth and development. They incorporate small-muscle movements and require hand-to-eye coordination. Humans develop fine motor skills as children, but fine motor skills can also be strengthened at any age. Parents can use a number of exercises to help their children (and themselves) strengthen and perfect fine motor skills.
Exercises for Children
Putting Together Puzzles—Jigsaw puzzles are a fun and challenging way to develop fine motor skills. A variety of puzzles exist, including large puzzles, peg puzzles and memory puzzles. Children will learn how to control the puzzle pieces with their fingers and fit them into the proper place.
Cutting Objects with Scissors—Scissors, when properly supervised, are excellent tools for developing fine motor skills, because children learn how to manipulate the scissors with their hands. The act of cutting requires a decent amount of coordination. Give your child a pair of safety scissors (with blunt points) and some old magazines and watch as they learn how to cut out shapes and pictures. Or, have them cut shapes out of multicoloured construction paper. For safety purposes, purchase plastic scissors instead of metal ones.
Building Blocks—Building blocks come in all shapes and sizes. The smaller the block, the more control children will need to stack them. Start young children off with large blocks so that they can use both hands. Once they master the large blocks, add smaller blocks into the mix. Introduce peg blocks and snap-together blocks to older children. They can learn how to create and build through the use of imagination while enhancing their ability to grasp, hold, control and fit the pieces together.
Exercises for Adults
Painting—This is a great exercise for enhancing fine motor skills because it incorporates the use of dexterity, control and hand-to-eye coordination. Painting is also a stress-free activity that enables you to expand your creativity and imagination.
Knitting—This exercise isn’t for everyone, but for those adults who find knitting enjoyable, it’s a wonderful way to perfect fine motor skills. In order to knit, you need to thread needles, pull and twist the thread, and follow a distinct pattern. All of this requires a good amount of hand-to-eye coordination and dexterity.
Cooking—Take a cooking class. You’ll not only improve your fine motor skills, you’ll also learn how to make a delicious meal. Cooking involves small- and large-muscle movements, the ability to read and follow directions, and proper dexterity.