One of the most rewarding parts of being a parent is watching your kids develop their motor skills over time. Developing these skills will allow your baby to do things by themselves such as eating and dressing up.
Parents have many ways of facilitating this development. One way is helping babies learn fine motor skills through small tasks over time. The most effective and enjoyable way to do this is through games!
So, what are fine motor skills?
Fine motor skills are also known as small motor skills. These skills develop dexterity and sensitivity that help babies learn different textures. Eventually, these skills will allow your baby to draw, write, feed, and dress themselves. The goal is to make their little hands nimble in those first 12 months.
What games develop these fine motor skills?
Play Pat-a-Cake and Itsy-Bitsy Spider
Playing Pat-a-Cake and Itsy-Bitsy Spider is a fun way to develop your child’s fine motor skills. If you sing these songs with your child and form their hands into the corresponding movements, the activity will help with their coordination. Eventually, they will be able to do it themselves because you have shown them how.
Mixing and Using Edible Finger Paint
The process of mixing and painting helps in developing children’s motor skills. Making the finger paint edible for this activity also makes it a lot safer for kids who put everything in their mouths. When you combine the ingredients, help your baby mix them. This activity will help with dexterity. Once your paint is mixed, they can use their fingers to spread it, make marks in it, and create their own pictures. Doing this is an excellent method of discovering textures.
Stick Foam Stickers on Windows or in the Bathtub
Independent play is helpful for babies learning to practice skills on their own. For example, if you give them foam sticks to do whatever they want with, they will learn many skills from this simple activity. For example, babies will figure out how to stick and unstick objects, arrange shapes, and discover different textures.
Poke Holes in Clay or Play-Doh
While this activity may seem simple, it is one of the essential skills a baby can learn. Do you ever wonder how we discovered the dexterity to play the piano or type? It all starts with poking holes. This is how babies learn that each finger moves independently.
Stacking Blocks or Cups
Stacking is great for both the mind and hands. Babies learn how to create things this way and to play independently. They will know how to lift and stack objects in a way that makes sense to them.
Squeezing a Noisy Toy
If you buy toys that squeak or play music when squeezed, make sure you allow your baby to learn to squeeze it themselves. This teaches them cause and effect. If they use their hands to squeeze the toy, then the toy makes noise. It’s a very important lesson.
It is necessary to avoid overwhelming babies with these lessons. Like adults, they can experience frustration and fatigue when trying new things. Instead, you can schedule times throughout the week to slowly introduce this type of play to their routine. You will be shocked at the results that games can have on a child’s development.
Written by: Gabrielle Goldson
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