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  • 7 Simple Activities To Help Hone Your Baby's Fine Motor Skills In Their First Year

    These are also a great way to bond and connect with your baby!
    by R.M. Mauhay .
7 Simple Activities To Help Hone Your Baby's Fine Motor Skills In Their First Year
PHOTO BY Shutterstock/Yaoinlove
  • Parents get excited whenever their child hits their developmental milestones because it's another step to help them grow into bright, independent, and well-functioning individuals. One of these milestones is honing their fine motor skills.

    Fine motor skills are are any action that makes use of the hands, from gestures like grabbing objects to more precise activities that require movements using the small muscles of our hands and wrist in coordination with our eyes. This enables your child to do daily activities as simple as holding a pen, using a pencil, drawing, opening things, and picking things up. 

    Developing this skill is crucial to your baby's development because he will need it to accomplish tasks like buttoning clothes, tying shoe laces, and using utensils, as well as other activities like writing and drawing. It is a good starting pont in helping your child become more independent and do everyday activities without your help.

    What are examples of fine motor skills?

    Fine motor skills is all about the movement of the small muscles of our fingers, hand, and wrist that is in coordination with our eyes. You can say that it is used in a lot of our daily activities.

    Here are some examples of fine motor skills:

    • Dressing up
    • Opening and closing jars or food containers
    • Combing the hair
    • Brushing teeth
    • Drawing and writing
    • Playing instruments
    • Playing with building blocks
    • Holding the spoon and fork when eatingw

    These are just some of the examples of when we use our fine motor skills in our daily activities, and which your child will slowly learn doing as they grow. Now, you might be asking, “How can I help my child develop and strengthen their fine motor skills?”

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    Activities to build fine motor skills

    As a parent, you also become your child's first teacher. There are things that your kids will learn to do on their own, just like how fine motor skills develop in your child as early infancy. But there are also ways you can help them improve and develop their fine motor skills and slowly get them ready every step of the way.

    Below are various activities which you can try with your child. These activities will not only help your child improve their fine motor skills, but it is also a great way to bond and connect with them.

    0 to 4 months old

    Play with dangling toys

     At this stage, your child’s hands are becoming more relaxed. They put it in their mouths or have their hands balled up into a fist.

    One way to develop their fine motor skills is by investing on dangling toys which can easily get their attention and encourage them to play using their hands. It will inspire the movement of of your child’s hands when they try to reach the dangling toys which, as a result, improve their hand and arm reflexes.

    Lay them on their tummy

    This is also a great way to get your child started with their tummy time. Tummy time not only encourages development which leads to the crawling milestone, it also promotes the development of their upper body as they will learn to lift their heads and shoulders from the floor. It also gives them the opportunity to reach out for items on the floor while they are lying on their tummy and will make them want to play with the objects.

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    4 to 8 months old

    Play with dough

     At this stage your child will frequently want to grab objects, so it will be a good time to introduce play dough. It will help improve their hand muscles as they play as they squeeze, pinch, and put it from one hand to the other.

    Play with a squeeze ball

    Playing with a squeeze ball improves their hand muscles as they slowly develop having a better hand grip. Since at this stage, they will love to roll over and reach for things, playing with a squeeze ball when they’ve dropped it and then trying to reach and get it can be a pretty good exercise for them to develop their fine motor skills.

    8 to 12 months old

    Play with a shape sorter

    By this time, your child gains interest in putting things in a container, mainly with large openings. You can start letting your child play with a shape sorter, which will not only enhance their fine motor skills but will also develop keen eye observation and problem-solving skills.

    Play with building blocks

    Another fun activity to do with your child is to let them play with building blocks. Let them build a tower with their blocks – apart from encouraging them to use their hands, it also develops hand-eye coordination.

    Get them to doodle

    You might think it’s a bit early but letting your child make doodles will help strengthen their hand muscles. And what’s more interesting to a curious child but to doodle on anything and everything?

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    These are just a few ways you can try to do with your child to help them improve their fine motor skills. Remember, take it slow and don’t rush your child. Each one develops in their own pace and you have to be observant about the things they are ready to try.

    For more activities to further develop and promote your child’s fine motor skills, you can read here and here.

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