Integrated Family Community Services 3370 South Irving Street, Englewood, CO 80110-1816 Ph: 303-789-0501

Arts and Crafts Out of Your Child’s Grasp? How to Improve Their Fine Motor Skills

Learning to make arts and crafts is a big part of childhood, but what if your child struggles with tasks like painting, folding paper and using scissors? A delay in fine motor skills development can be very concerning to parents, but your child can catch up easily with the right help. Read on to learn how you can improve your child’s fine motor skills and get them ready for craft time.

Practice Fine Motor Movements With Hand Games

Before toys and electronics dominated playtime, hand games were a favorite pastime for children of all ages. Simple clapping games, such as patty cake and cups, are great for small children and beginners. For older children, try a finger-spelling game where your child traces a word in the air and you guess the word. A more advanced hand game is cat’s cradle, which involves making string figures with your fingers. Board games can also help with the pincer grasp and other minute movements necessary to build up your child’s fine motor skills.

Seek Physical Therapy Options

While many children make great progress with fine motor skills at home, sometimes professional help is needed. A physical therapist can work with your child using structured exercises that have been proven to develop fine motor skills and dexterity. Keep up the good work at home by purchasing the same tools and activities professional therapists use from an online retailer like Your Therapy Source or a local education store.

Stock Up on Coloring Books

Coloring is a time-tested method for improving your child’s fine motor skills and a great stepping stone to arts and crafts. Stock up on your child’s favorite coloring books and purchase crayons in a wide variety of colors. Consider using coloring time to introduce your child to other media like pencils, pastels and markers. Different implements require different techniques, which helps expand your child’s fine motor skillset.

Practice Tracing Together

Another way to ease your child into creating arts and crafts is teaching him how to trace. Use tracing paper or a lightbox so your child can see the image he’s tracing. Then show him how to follow the outlines with a pencil or crayon. You can choose images from books or magazines for your child to trace or print images from the internet. Many children love tracing their favorite movie and video game characters.

Keep in mind that not every child will excel at arts and crafts even when fine motor skills are on track. Always remember to praise your child’s efforts and allow her to discover her talents at her own pace.

Tim Esterdahl

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