Fine motor skills involve coordinating the small muscle groups in our hands, fingers, and wrists in a controlled way. These skills allow us to complete basic functions and tasks, such as buttoning clothing, brushing our teeth, and writing.
Mastering fine motor skills at a young age is important as they are needed for school, play, and self-care. By working on strengthening the muscles involved, fine motor skills can be improved. This post addresses some of the benefits of building fine motor skills and offers four summer themed printable activities that kids can use to work on them.
4 Benefits of Building Fine Motor Skills
Several of the main benefits of improving fine motor skills include:
- Helps kids learn to use tools
Fine motor skills are needed for kids to be able to use tools such as writing instruments and scissors. WIthout fine motor skills kids cannot grasp or manipulate objects and will not be able to perform basic tasks on their own.
- Improves hand-eye coordination
Visual input is required to be able to effectively carry out the majority of hand movements. For example, in order to color inside the lines of a picture or catch a ball kids need to be able to coordinate eye and hand movement.
- Boosts independence
Kids who understand how their bodies work can do more on their own. As kids can complete more tasks, such as getting dressed or brush their teeth, they will become more independent and confident in their abilities.
- Supports cognitive development
Some research suggests that improving fine motor skills in young children may help them succeed academically. At the University of Nottingham School of Psychology, researchers found that fine motor skills were a significant predictor of math abilities in preschool students.
Improving Fine Motor Skills With Printables
Adding fun printable activities into your kids’ routine can help get them excited about improving fine motor skills. The printable activities below are specifically designed to work on fine motor skills. They require kids to engage the small muscles in their hands, wrists, and fingers by having them color, cut, trace, and place objects. Check out and print the four summer-themed printable fine motor skills activities below from the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences.
Sea Animals Coloring Printable
This printable involves using markers, color pencils, or crayons to color and scissors to cut out. These activities help with wrist stability, hand strength and hand-eye coordination.
Ice Cream Cone Grid Drawing Printable
This printable has kids practice their observational skills. By splitting up the drawing into smaller pieces, kids can start to understand proportions and how to observe details.
Beach Trip Line Tracing Printable
This printable is ideal for kids who are just beginning to print their letters. The act of tracing helps kids strengthen the muscles needed for writing.
Rainbow Placement Printable
This printable works on kids’ ability to grasp and place objects, which are valuable precursors to writing. This activity also helps strengthen the hand, wrist, and finger muscles and to improve hand-eye coordination.
For kids who continue to struggle with fine motor skills, it may be worth looking into working with an occupational therapist who can offer them the support they need to succeed.