RECOMMENDED ACTIVITIES TO IMPROVE FINE MOTOR SKILLS
1. Pencil Grasp- The child should be instructed to use a mature pencil grasp. The pencil is to be held between the tips of the first finger and thumb, resting on the middle finger.
2. Alternative Grips- A triangular-shaped grip could be placed on the pencil to help the youngster understand that the pencil is held in three spots with three points on the fingers. There are many other commercial grips available as well.
3. Posture- It is important for the child to sit correctly in the chair for optimal writing ability. The body should be squarely in the chair with feet firmly on the floor. The child is to face the desk or table squarely with no twisting or leaning of the body or neck. Papers should be slanted slightly and the non-writing hand should hold papers still.
4. Tracing- Draw lines from straight to increasingly curved and wavy on a paper and have the child trace them as accurately as possible. This can also be used with letters, numbers, shapes, etc.
5. Mazes- Many maze workbooks are produced commercially and would be helpful. Encourage the child to draw lines from the beginning of the road to end without touching the sides of the rode.
6. Dots- Have the child complete the connect-the-dot pictures as accurately as possible with straight lines between dots.
7. Scissors- Have the child improve cutting accuracy by cutting straight lines, wavy lines, circles and/or complex patterns with increasing difficulty as the child develops skill. Cutting play doh helps improve muscle strength.
8. Coloring- Encourage accuracy in coloring within boundaries beginning with large areas and progressing to smaller sections. Use various modalities from crayons, to magic markers, to paints, etc.
9. Clay/Play-Doh- Encourage the youngster to manipulate clay in order to strengthen the fingers. The child could be asked to try to make a “ball”, “pancake”, or “snake” to use a variety of muscles. Also the child can try to make letters and numbers out of the clay.
10. Pegboard- The child could make pictures or designs with a pegboard or “Lite-Brite” to encourage small and manipulations. Or have the child remove pegs using a clothespin held with the first finger and thumb to strengthen the pinch grasp.
11. Bead Stringing- Have the child string various sizes and shapes of beads.
12. Lacing Cards- Have the child “lace” pictures or letters.
13. Finger Paints- Work with this modality.
14. Buttoning- Begin with large buttons with the article of clothing off the body and proceed to increasingly smaller buttons. Then use large buttons on clothing on the body and work toward smaller buttons. Also try to change where on the body the buttons are (pants, shirtfront, sleeves, collar, etc.).
15. Zipping- As with buttons, being off the body and then proceed to working on articles of clothing on the body. Remember that connecting, for example, two sides of a jacket is different, for example the fly on a pair of pants.
16. Tying- This skill needs to be taught with long laces or string off the body before transferring the skill to shoes or clothing. GO very slowly one step at a time with each step mastered before proceeding to the next.