Before your child gets ready for preschool, there are a whole bunch of things you need to ensure….
Are their immunisations up to date? Do they have enough ‘rough and tumble’ clothing? Have you registered them at Centrelink to ensure you get the rebate?
Another thing to watch out for is fine motor skills. Kids develop at different paces and each child does things in their own time, though if you are looking to fine tune those fine motor skills here are some ideas you can try out:
- Hand painting- A classic activity that is almost proven as guaranteed for developing motor skills. As a child, it is wonderful to develop motor skills by identifying colours and smudging them all over paper with some help from a parent. Ask your little one to pick the painting vials, they will love it. When they stain their little fingers and wipe them off to make nice patterns on paper, they not only identify colors, they also learn to make lines and circles all whilst enjoying themselves. Hand painting will also assist your child in holding pencils with ease down the line and it will aid them to respond better to instructions.
- Dough art- This, again is one of the time trusted ways to help children develop stronger motor skills. Clay or dough art sets are affordable and easily available – you can even make your own playdough. With these, kids learn to make shapes, identify them along with developing their hand eye coordination. Also, an additional brownie point here is you get to spend more time with your child while helping him or her learn the nuances of patterns and designs.
- Sand or Dust patterning- These days shops have numerous scented sand and/or fairy dust packs available for kids. You can help the littlies make patterns, draw letters and numbers on their dust covered boards. This improves their ability to coordinate while teaching them to use their fingers to make letters, numbers and shapes. A no fuss way to bond with your kids too! The dust is very kid-friendly (though we do recommend using it outside) and often comes in varied colors and smells. What’s more, they help kids to recognize colours and smells too.
- Sponging- While regular sponges seem useless at times, they can be a great way for kids to strengthen their fingers and improve coordination. Simply ask the kiddies to soak water into a sponge and squeeze it into a bowl placed on a table. This helps kids to be brisker and improves overall coordination. As they squeeze the water into a bowl, they definitely learn a thing or two about not letting much spill over (or they could enjoy it so much they sponge themselves – either way they learn about gravity). This activity gives them a sense of developing a quick response since most kids will try hard to not let water spill over – the others, well their response at cold water all over them might be quick as well!
- Stacking and Sorting: Get your little one’s wee-little fingers active with blocks as he or she learns to stack them one above the other and watch them tumble down when knocked over – then they can start all over again. Giving your child the task of stacking a pole with colored rings in a particular order from big to small will help them develop a sense of sorting while honing their motor skills as well.
- Small Crayon Coloring Activity: The first steps to help your toddler learn the basics of holding a pencil can be done with small pieces of crayons or colored chalks that appeal to their senses. Let your little one scribble and draw circles as much as they like in the beginning gradually progressing towards simple shapes.
- Make Necklaces: Linked toys enable your child to learn the art of joining in the form of a chain or necklace and is a great way to help them nurture their sense of manipulating and developing eye-hand coordination. You could provide thick strings and ask them to add big beads to the string to form a necklace. To take the fun level a notch higher let your child cultivate their own creativity by making chains of dry pasta pieces while you are busy making whipping up a delicious dinner for them in the kitchen.
- Cut and Paste Pictures: Children love the concept of cutting and pasting pictures. Give your toddler a pair of safety scissors (if you feel they are old enough to introduce scissors to) and a whole bunch of papers and ask them to cut different shapes and paste them onto a file. Once they have finished, help them to cut and paste letters that make up their name on the paper and help to decorate it so they are proud of their work.
- Patterns with Blocks: Blocks in myriad colors attract kids. How about getting them to learn the art of patterning through these very building blocks? Draw up some patterns of colored blocks placed in different color combinations on a piece paper and pop it in front of them – for example, draw a red block, a green block and a yellow block on the paper, then encourage your child to arrange the real blocks in tune with the same color patterns as on the paper. This activity triggers helps your child to coordinate their hands according to what they see and understand.
- Dump and Fill Up: Your little one might be enjoying dumping all of their toys out of the big toy box, don’t worry, every kid does it. Encourage them to fill up the box after they have finished playing. To make the challenge a bit tougher separate the boxes for various kinds of toys such as cars, teddies, dolls, lego etc. and ask them to sort the toys separately before putting them in the toy box again. It will not only help your child to cultivate their fine motor skills but work up their brain and muscles as well.
So there you have it, 10 ways to tune your little ones fine motor skills that won’t cost you much at all!
Do you have anything to add to the list?