Techniques to Develop Fine Motor Skills in Toddlers

Did your toddler try to eat by himself? Does your kid hold a crayon and scribble in your note? Did your child try to open/close the door by turning the knob? Does your baby start to hold keys or other stuff tightly between the first finger and thumb? If this is the case, your kid’s fine motor skills are developing. But if your kid face difficulty doing these stuffs, it may be delay in fine motor skills. Some techniques can help to develop the fine motor skills in kids. Let’s know more about it.

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Fine motor skills

Fine motor skills are the capacity of your kid’s hands, wrists, and fingers to work together with their eyes in a cooperative manner. It starts from tightly holding the fingers of others to cutting the paper in different shapes, playing piano or dressing on their own. Holding the spoon or fork to eat or using crayon for colouring or holding the toys can be regulated by fine motor skills. It’s so overwhelming to see your kid doing new activities everyday, but these abilities don’t develop overnight. Kids put a lot of effort and handwork to achieve these fine motor skills.

Also check, Activities for brain development

Delays in fine motor development

Kids develop their skills gradually. But some kids might have delays in fine motor development. Here are some of the signs for fine motor developmental delays:

  • Kids might face difficulties in doing personal care things like not being able to tie shoelaces or unable to dress up themselves.
  • They find it challenging to pick up tiny items which require a lot of time and effort.
  • They may struggle to hold the object in their hand.
  • Have trouble using both hands at one.
  • School kids may enjoy playing outside rather than writing, drawing, and playing with toys as they feel it is difficult.

Also check, Foods for speech delay in kids

Causes of fine motor development delay

Some kids just achieve their motor goals longer than others because their muscle development might be slow. Developmental coordination disorder (DCD) or dyspraxia, on the other hand, is a neural and coordination issue in kids which happens when the brain and muscles can’t coordinate properly. Some of the causes for fine motor development delay are listed below,

  • Learning disability
  • Premature birth
  • Genetic issues (Down’s syndrome)
  • Nerve related or muscle related problems
  • Brain injury or trauma
  • Hearing loss
  • Autism

Also check, Types of developmental delays in kids

Importance of fine motor skills

 When kids join the school, the fine motor development gradually increases and they will learn to flip the book pages, write legibly or carry out activities on their own. If a kid struggles to complete certain daily activities, it may have an impact on their education, their potential to build independence and confidence. 

Also check, Motor tics in kids

Tips for improving the fine motor skills of kids

Do not worry about your kid if they are experiencing symptoms of a fine motor development delay. Here are some tips that help to improve the fine motor skills in kids in your home.

1. Playing with clay or slime

Playing with clay or slime is commonly utilised as an element of senses. Help your kid to make different structures like balls or snakes with that clay. Allow your kid to pull, twist, and press the slime which will eventually improve the fine motor skills.

Also check, Tips to improve concentration

2. Solve puzzles

The ability to hold things with the first finger and thumb may increase while solving puzzles. Since your kids effortlessly give up, misplace the pieces and become frustrated in the puzzle game, sit with them to assist. Motivate them to solve simple puzzles first, then gradually increase the difficulty level. This helps to improve their eye-hand coordination thereby developing fine motor skills.

Also check, Tips for personality development

3. Wet sponge game

This game is very simple. It only requires a sponge and a bowl with water. First, tell your kid to soak the sponge in the water. Then, tell him to squeeze the water in another bowl. You can also join with your kid and challenge them. This is an easy exercise to aid in fine motor development. 

4. Painting

Kids who paint with brushes will learn how to grasp a paintbrush and have better control. To stimulate their curiosity and develop your kid’s fine motor skills, try experimenting with various painting techniques and materials including colour pencils, markers, water colour, palette painting etc.

Also check, Focus and attention building games for kids

5. Play with sand

When you go to the beach, give your kid a toy shovel. Allow them to play with sand like digging, scraping, building castles, etc. Your kid will enjoy it and it may improve the fine motor skills of your kid. In indoors you can use play-sand.

6. Gardening

Engage your kid in gardening activities like digging with a shovel, putting the seeds or saplings into the garden. This will improve their eye-hand coordination and fine motor skills.

Also check, Foods that help in walking

7. Syringe game

You need an empty syringe, liquid food colours and 5 glasses filled with clear water to play this game. Give your kid an empty syringe. Tell them to fill the syringe with colours and allow them to pour it into the clear water. This will increase their muscle strength thereby helps in fine motor development.

Also check, Foods to manage hyperactivity in kids

8. Lego games

Legos are full of fun! It helps a child in building up a structure step by step with small boxes as their basic unit. With LEGO bricks, kids can create and even pick up objects while exercising their fingers. Children enjoy the excitement of creating, and they can do this for hours while developing strong little hand muscles that will aid them in learning other abilities, like how to write.

Also check, Oral motor exercises for kids

Foods that can aid in the development of fine motor skill

Adding foods that support brain development can help to improve fine motor skills in kids. The types of foods that effectively impact fine motor skills include:

1. Nuts

All the nuts like almonds, walnuts, cashew, peanuts and hazelnuts are rich in vitamin E and vitamin B6. They help to improve the fine motor skills in kids. They are also antioxidants which protect against cell damage. Walnuts are rich in omega 3 fatty acids and are a valuable substance for brain function, memory and thinking abilities. This fatty acid also encourages cognitive functions.

Also check, Best nuts and seeds for protein.

2. Seeds

Seeds like flax, chia, melon, sesame and pumpkins also contain powerful antioxidants like vitamin E that protect the brain from free radical damage. Sunflower seeds impact overall mood and mental processing powers and therefore it is considered a brain boosting snack. Pumpkin seeds are high in magnesium, copper, and also higher in zinc than other seeds. They also help in increasing concentration and memory. Healthy brain can effectively help in improving fine motor skills.

Also check, Health benefits of pumpkin seeds.

2. Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is an adaptogen. It can help in reducing anxiety and stress. Moreover, it increases acetylcholine levels which support better memory, mental focus and intelligence. Ashwagandha also improves communication between nerve cells and stimulates the body’s capacity to heal any nervous system damage. For general nourishment and renewal, ashwagandha is typically eaten with ghee and honey (in equal parts), which serve as anupans (a medium for delivering herbs deeper into the tissues).

Also check, Health benefits of Ashwagandha.

3. Brahmi

Brahmi is a superfood for the brain. It helps in sharpening the brain by protecting cells and also increases the chemicals associated with learning and memory. It has shown to improve spatial learning and retaining power in kids. Kids in the older times, were often given Brahmi powder with ghee/honey. This would increase their focus and attention while keeping them calm and distressed. The most notable advantage of brahmi is that it enhances cognitive abilities and also stimulates the mind to increase focus and memory. Bacopa, taken twice daily at a dose of 300 mg, was found to improve test results related to cognitive function after six weeks of regular treatment.

Also check, Benefits of brahmi for brain development

4. Shankhapushpi

Shankhapushpi is a traditional remedy for increasing the functioning of the brain. The powerful antioxidants and also the flavonoids present in it improve the memory capacity, focus, concentration, calmness and alertness of an individual. Because it is a brain tonic and stimulator, people taking shankhapushpi have improved memory, reasoning, problem-solving, and other cognitive abilities.

Also check, Herbs that help to get rid of brain fog.

5. Cocoa Powder

Pure cocoa powder (unsweetened) contains brain boosting components as it is packed with a large number of antioxidants molecules, the main is epicatechin helpful to improve cognition and speech impairment in studies. Hence cocoa powder is also an important brain development food for children. This may significantly help out in easily building up the fine motor skills.

Also check, More benefits of cocoa powder.


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