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  • Develop Your Baby's Fine Motor Skills With These Simple Activities (0 to 1 Year)

    Your baby's first year is a critical windown to develop and nurture his fine motor skills.
    by Kate Borbon . Published Jan 31, 2019
Develop Your Baby's Fine Motor Skills With These Simple Activities (0 to 1 Year)
  • Fine motor skills are any action that makes use of the hands, from gestures like grabbing objects to more precise activities that involve hand-eye coordination. These skills are crucial to your baby's development because he will need it to complete tasks such as buttoning clothes, tying shoe laces, and using utensils as well as other skills like writing and drawing.

    As early as 2 months old, babies begin to exhibit different kinds of developmental milestones. Between four to six months, your baby's vision, hearing, and memory reach a point where he can recognize items and deliberately reach for them. It is a critical windown to develop and nurture these milestones.

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    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) discusses below the various activities parents can do to help improve those developmental milestones in their kids including fine motor skills.

    0 to 4 months Old

    Invest in dangling toys

    Within their first month, babies usually keep their hands in a fist as a reflex. But as they reach the 2-month mark, they slowly begin to unfold their hands and become more aware of them. This is when they will start to swipe at toys that they may see dangling over them.

    Introduce tummy time

    Tummy time is not just good practice for crawling or for developing strength in a baby’s upper-body muscles, but it can also be a chance to develop their fine motor skills. When you lay them on their tummy, put some toys near them so they can reach for it. Tummy time is best practiced when your child is fully awake. We don't recommend tummy time when he is ready to fall asleep especially at this age. Do not leave him unattended.

    Blocks are a type of toys that help boost a child's fine motor skills, as well as his or her brain development.
    PHOTO BY iStock

    4 to 6 Months Old

    Provide age-appropriate toys

    Continue to encourage your baby to play with small toys shake and make sounds. Simple toys like rattles and balls are great for encouraging your child to learn how to hold objects in both hands. Remember to provide toys of various sizes, shapes, and textures, to start getting your baby used to different sensations.

    Drop and pick up toys

    At this age, babies are still strengthening their ability to grasp and hold things, so sometimes they might drop their toys on the floor. When this happens, pick up the toys and encourage them to continue playing. This activity can also help promote your baby’s ability to follow a moving person or object with their eyes, which is important because fine motor skills involve coordinating hand movements with what the eyes can see.

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    6 to 12 Months Old

    Roll balls back and forth

    Rolling around a ball with your baby can also be a great way to start teaching them how to control and manipulate their hands and arms! This simple activity can help promote your child’s grasping skills and hand-eye coordination as well as develop his ability to pass objects from one hand to the other. Of course, at first he may simply slap the ball, but eventually, he will learn to roll it back towards you.

    Play peek-a-boo

    Peek-a-boo is not just a great game to use to teach your child about object permanence, but it can also be helpful in developing his or her fine motor skills. When you hide your face behind your hands or a piece of fabric, your baby will use his tiny hands to try to remove that barrier. Plus, it’s a tried-and-tested way to get some giggles out of your little one!


    Teach baby to self-feed

    Once your baby shows he's ready for solid foods, take advantage by letting your little one feed himself. Encouraging your child to pick up food and putting it into his mouth is another simple but effective way of promoting their fine motor skills, specifically their pincer grasp (which involves using the thumb and index finger together). At the same time, kill two birds with one stone by giving them healthy snacks to eat like cut-up and soft pieces of fruits and vegetables.

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    Let your kids draw and scribble

    Take advantage of your child’s enjoyment for making messes by encouraging him to draw using crayons. Let him make random drawings, then show him how to draw lines as well. Finally, don’t forget to encourage them with the occasional words of praise.

    Build block towers

    Toys that encourage the usage of hands are great for kids, but especially for those who are still in the process of developing their fine motor skills. Aside from blocks, you can also use similar toys like shape sorters.


    Sing songs with hand actions

    Singing is a great way to soothe and calm your baby down, and it can be helpful in improving your child’s fine motor skills. How? Use songs that involve certain hand gestures and actions. Some well-known examples are “Itsy-Bitsy Spider” and “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.”

    Read books together

    Aside from instilling a love for books in your child, reading can also help develop your baby’s ability to manipulate their hands better, specifically when you let them turn one page of a book at a time, according to Healthline. This activity can also encourage them to point at the pictures they see in the book.

    What is your fun activity to do with your baby? Let us know in the comments.

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