Helping children with their fine motor development

Sometimes children need some assistance when developing their
fine motor skills. This requires one to find strategies in order to assist
children with their development.

Manipulative materials
Toys that require a child to manipulate it with their fingers and hands
can be categorised as a manipulative.  Manipulatives involve
coordinating the eye to what the hands are needed to do. They
stimulate fine motor development because they require controlled
use of hand and finger muscles. Some manipulative toys, such as
puzzles, are self-correcting, fitting together in only one specific way.
These types of toys allow children to work until they achieve success
since they only fit together one way, and they know that when they
are done that they have accomplished something great.[2]

Modified writing materials
Other ways to assist children with their fine motor development is to
use modified tools to assist them. For young children, using crayons is
often difficult at first due to their small size, so it is important to
provide children with a tool that they are able to manipulate. There
have been crayons created that are a
3-D tetrahedral shape, so
that the children are able to grab the crayon in any position. The
use of these crayons allows for a child to create a more precise
picture because of the control they have, and this also helps the
child to pursue such personal expression, since they are not being
frustrated by not being able to use the tools.

Children, when they are learning to print, also experience some
frustrations. A way to assist a child who is having difficulties with this is
to provide them with a Primer pencil (which is thicker around), or to
modify a pencil by adding to its circumference (either by a formed
grip or by adding tape). For a child who is having difficulties with
their fine motor skills, offering tools such as larger pencils and
modified pencils will help the child develop a better grasp of this
tool, and eventually moving to smaller, regular size pencils. This will
help with their self-esteem, providing them with a sense of
accomplishment in writing tasks.

Another way to assist a child who is having difficulties developing
their fine motor skills is to provide the child with proper positioning of
their hands and body in order to accomplish tasks.

Positioning is very important for engagement in fine motor tasks. A child's
seat should allow him to sit comfortably with his feet placed firmly on the
floor. His hips, knees, and ankles should be at 90 degree angles, with his
torso slightly forward. His desk height should be approximately 2 inches
above his elbows when his arms are at rest at his side. If the child's chair is
too tall, leaving his feet dangling, create a make shift footrest out of old
telephone books bound together with masking or another strong tape to
provide added stability. Keep in mind that trunk stability is necessary for
good mobility of the arms, hands, and fingers.

– Linda Kennedy
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