Last Updated on October 6, 2022 by Editorial Team
Motor skill is an important component of the physical and behavioral development of an infant and comprises his or her postural, locomotive, and manual functions. Studies show a positive correlation between good motor skills and higher levels of physical activity.
Sometimes children may experience delays in their motor skills development due to the underdevelopment of small muscle groups. Since the development of motor skills is a natural process in children which requires gradual maturation, such delays sometimes get unnoticed. If the problem gets unaddressed for a prolonged period of time, the child can suffer from ‘intense feelings of failure’ (Rule and Stewart, 2002).
The Preschool and kindergarten stint for students provide a ‘window period’ where proper intervention can help in overcoming any skill development delay with a structured strategy.
One part of this structured intervention is various activities help in motor skill development in children, while at the same time keeping the child engaged. Some of the most popular among these are:
8 Activities to improve fine motor skills in kindergarten
1. Moulding with play-dough
Play-dough is an effective aid in fine-tuning motor skills because of its malleability and easy use.
Moulding and playing with the dough can initiate them into understanding the significance of touch and pressure in shaping the world around them.
They can start with making small worms out of the play dough and then gradually move to more complex items. For this purpose, you can either use the colored and fragrant dough that is available in the market or simply use homemade dough with added food colors to make them more attractive.
2. Sensing with fingers
Using fingers to get touch perception is one of the first motor activities of an infant. Hence, painting with fingers is an excellent motor skills-enhancing activity. You can use the edible paints that are available in the market if your child has still not gotten over the habit of putting his or her fingers in their mouth.
Next, you can use sensory salts and ask your child to draw patterns, letters, and numbers in the salts. This will help not only in fine-tuning their motor skills but also double up their alphabet and number practicing sessions.
3. Make the beads work
Beads can act as excellent props in motor skill activities. You can make a stand out of dough and stick raw spaghetti in it. Once our makeshift stand is ready, ask the kindergartener to pick up each bead and put it in the spaghetti. The end result is a beautiful spaghetti strand with multi-colored beads piled up on it.
Alternatively, you can take a shoestring and ask the little learner to place beads in it one by one to form a beautiful bead garland.
You can also save the huge egg cartons that you get with your weekly quota of eggs and ask your child to place beads in the empty spaces in the carton one by one. You can also encourage them to place the beads in a pattern. For e.g., the red-colored beads in one line, the blue ones in the next, and so on.
4. Counting coins in the money box
Dropping in coins is a fun activity for kids where they can develop both motor skills and number sense.
Place a few coins on the kid’s palm and ask him or her to drop them in the money box through the coin slot one by one. As the child becomes adept at the game, increase the number of coins placed on the palm of the hand and then continue with the exercise.
You can also make the game more interesting by rolling the die and then asking the child to drop in as many coins as the number displayed on the die.
5. Working with water
Children love to splash around in the water. And we can use these happy memories to enhance their motor skills.
We just need two jars and an eye dropper borrowed from Grandma’s medicine kit. Fill one jar with water, while keeping the other empty. You can place the two jars at a distance, and then ask the child to use the dropper to squeeze in liquid from one jar and then squeeze it out in the other empty jar. To make the activity more fun, you can even add paint color to the water jar.
6. Sort the mess
Sorting is another exercise for motor skill-building that comes with the additional advantage of sharpening observation skills and visualization. Make a mess of beads, trinkets, and buttons, and then ask the child to sort the mess out in three separate boxes. Later, you can ask them to rearrange the contents in the three boxes according to size or color.
This also helps refine the child’s attention to detail.
7. Stick it on
Taking the stickers out of their pads and placing them in a pattern on another surface or drawing paper helps improve the child’s hand-eye coordination as well.
To make it more fun for the child, you can use the stickers of their favorite cartoons and even ask them to develop a story while placing the different stickers on the template.
If this doesn’t fire up their imagination, what will?!
8. Building with Lego
Once the child has refined his or her motor skills with the above-mentioned activities, it is time to explore the builder in him with the Lego toys.
This helps children explore their creative side as they learn to build various types of structures. It also helps them understand how to provide stability to such structures.
Enhanced fine motor skills help the child in gaining confidence as they perform various activities in kindergarten. The delay in their development on the other hand can affect the psychological well-being of the child. Thus, it is important to pay attention to whether the child’s motor skills are optimized to his or her age and to follow up with intervention strategies if the conclusions are contrary.
- Dapp, L. C., Gashaj, V., & Roebers, C. M. (2021, May). Physical activity and motor skills in children: A differentiated approach. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 54. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychsport.2021.101916.
- Hestbaek, L., Andersen, S.T., Skovgaard, T. et al. Influence of motor skills training on children’s development evaluated in the Motor skills in PreSchool (MiPS) study-DK: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial, nested in a cohort study. Trials 18, 400 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13063-017-2143-9