In child development there are few things talked about as frequently as fine motor skills. And there’s a reason for that: they are important. From feeding ourselves to writing, we use the small movements that occur in the wrists, hands, fingers, feet and toes all day, every day. There are a ton of products and toys on the market specifically aimed at developing those fine motor skills in kids and we’ve even done our own round up of favorites, but there are also plenty of objects around your home that can be used in a pinch. Use these for invitations to play, working time-outs, Montessori-style “lessons” or just incorporate them into your play space!
Bottles, Jars & Containers
I can guarantee you that if you look around your house or in your recycle bin you’ll find bottles, jars and containers just begging to be re-used in some meaningful way. Rinse them out and find a storage basket, because this little collection is excellent for twisting, pulling, turning and grasping. Finger nail polish bottles and little pots of eye cream are perfect for little hands, but you could also use empty water bottles and food containers, too.
Basters & Sponges
Kids love transferring water. There is something very peaceful and calming about moving the liquid from one place to another. It’s one reason why, when my kids were a bit smaller, I loved water transfer as an activity for a working time out. In an effort to not spill, they had to really slow down and concentrate which quickly led to them becoming absorbed in the activity. Before you knew it, the tears had subsided and tension and stress levels decreased. When you add a baster or a sponge as your means for transferring, you add the fine motor skill development aspect. All of that grasping and squeezing works those tiny bones and muscles, strengthening hands and getting little fingers ready to grasp a pencil.
Food Clips & Clothespins
You know those chip clips saving your favorite bag of pretzels from the dreaded staleness? Those same clips are excellent for working hands. Start kids off with ones that are a little easier to open and then move them to progressively harder clips. Having them attach the clips to an edge or lip of a container is an excellent quick and easy activity.
Looking for more ideas? How about:
Clothing with Buttons
Clothing with Zippers
Have an idea that is not included? Share it with us!