In addition to providing social skills, creative outlets, and the opportunity to let off steam and energy, play has another crucial role to play in child development: the development of fine and gross motor skills.
Gross motor skills are movements which come from moving the whole body, and generally from large muscle groups. These include movements such as standing, sitting, running and walking, and allow children to take the first steps towards independence. Fine motor skills involve using the hands, and allow children to complete tasks such as brushing their teeth and washing their hands, zipping their jackets and tying their shoes. Starting off with small movements, and building up to bigger, independent tasks will improve dexterity and independence. Play has an important part in this development.
Through encouraging your child towards certain activities, you can help to develop and improve their fine motor skills while still ensuring that they are engaged and having fun. There are a number of tasks which can directly help with this:
– Pouring sand or water from one pot to another.
– Stacking building blocks – start with bigger blocks as your child develops hand and wrist stability, and move onto smaller blocks as this improves.
– Gripping a paintbrush or pencil.
– Assembling jigsaws – again, start with larger, easy to manipulate pieces and move to smaller as your child grows.
– Threading beads onto string – experiment with macaroni pasta or other shapes for a twist on this task.
– Hammering shapes into a pegboard, or posting the correct shape into its corresponding hole.
– Playing with Play-Doh – stretching and squeezing it helps to strengthen the muscles in the fingers.
– Search for buried treasure in the sandbox – this helps your child develop the ‘pincer grip’ needed for many fine motor skills.
– Practice using utensils correctly at picnics and tea parties – by encouraging your child to hold knives, forks and spoons correctly, you can increase dexterity.
– Incy-Wincy Spider – playing this game helps your child practice using both their hands together.
– Finger painting – as well as being great fun, this also helps with your child’s hand-eye coordination.
Look no further than Little Giggles Bristol to enable your child to have lots of fun while improving both fine and gross motor skills.