Why Preschoolers Should Engage in Fine Motor Activities Daily
As a teacher, you know that fine motor skills are important for your preschoolers to develop. But did you know that engaging in fine motor activities every day can also help improve their overall academic performance? It’s true! Studies show that young children with strong fine motor skills go on to do better in school year after year.
In this article, I’ll share five reasons why preschoolers need to do fine motor tasks every day.
Fine Motor Activities Help Preschoolers Develop Hand-Eye Coordination
Fine motor skills are an essential part of preschooler development, and they help develop a child’s hand-eye coordination. Engaging in simple tasks such as building with Legos, stringing pony beads, or working with playdoh can really make a difference in a child’s developing hands.
The benefits of these activities go way beyond those of clicking and swiping on tablets but can still be just as much fun for kids! In fact, these activities give children a chance to express their creativity and discover more about the world around them in an interactive way, all while developing their fine motor skills.
Fine Motor Tasks Strengthen the Muscles in the Hands and Fingers to Prepare Children for Writing and Drawing
Engaging in fine motor activities can be a fun way for children to improve their strength and dexterity in their hands. These activities not only help children prepare for academic tasks like writing, but also strengthen the muscles used for drawing and cutting with scissors.
Children need both strength and focus to write well, which means that it is important to provide children with strengthening exercises as well as tasks that require concentration.
A great example of this would be asking children to create an ABC pattern by stringing three colors of beads on a piece of lacing yarn. Not only are children practicing grasping and pinching with the fine motor activity, but they are also engaging their thinking as they plan which color bead will go next. Sustained attention is required for children to complete the entire necklace, promoting the ability to focus and finish what they start!
Fine Motor Skills are Used Everyday
Fine motor skills are essential for a variety of everyday tasks. From holding a pencil correctly to forming the letters of the alphabet correctly, these skills help children develop meaningful ways of expressing themselves. Having the ability to draw or cut paper with scissors provides little learners with endless opportunities to express their creativity.
Having well-developed fine motor skills also makes daily life much easier. Children with strong fine motor development are able to brush their teeth, open a milk carton, and button their shirt since these activities require fine movements of the hand. Developing strong fine motor skills can be both fun and beneficial, so it’s important to practice these types of activities regularly!
Fine Motor Skills Prepare Children for Kindergarten and Beyond
Day to day activities like coloring, stringing beads, or playing with playdough are more than just fun for preschoolers – they’re a way to help develop important kindergarten readiness skills that can set them up for future academic achievements. Engaging in fine motor practice, like manipulating objects with the fingers and hands, can have major benefits even at the kindergarten level.
When children begin to complete written activities in kindergarten and beyond, strong hands are essential. A child who has not had the opportunity to build hand strength will be unable to form letters correctly or to write a paragraph. A child who has to work extra hard simply to write will be too bogged down to be creative and think about what they are writing.
Indeed, strong fine motor skills are not optional for little learners. They are critical!
Fine Motor Tasks Represent Play-Based Learning
Play-based learning should be the hallmark of any preschool program, because children learn best through play. Maria Montessori once said that “Play is the work of the child.” The great thing about fine motor activities is that they look and feel just like PLAY to any young child!
Rolling and cutting playdoh, building Lego structures, punching holes in paper, peeling and placing stickers on a picture are not tedious work to a child. They are fun and engaging!
As children engage in fine motor activities, they are learning by playing. They are learning spatial awareness as they manipulate the paper and maneuver the scissors. They’re learning cause and effect as they pinch, grasp, and stack blocks. They’re learning about symmetry when they tear and glue down paper to create a picture.
Fine motor development involves play, and play always leads to learning!
How Can You Develop your Students’ Fine Motor Skills?
Looking for ways to help your little learners hone their fine motor skills so they’ll be prepared for academic tasks down the road? I’ve created a seasonal packet of fine motor resources to cover the entire school year.
Each month has activities that are similar in design, but include different themes, seasonal clipart, and unique add-ons. Because the activities are familiar, children already understand how to use them. All you have to do is change them out from month to month to match the season or holiday!
These packets include fine motor activities like hole punching, pokey pin pictures, sticker activities, playdoh cards, Bingo dabber mystery pictures, lacing cards, Lego letter cards ,and more. You can use these resources in a Fine Motor Center that children can visit during center rotations.
Or consider making “Fine Motor Friday” a regular event in your classroom. Each Friday pick a fine motor activity to use during small groups, and watch your little learners’ fine motor skills progress as the year goes on.
They’ll have so much fun they won’t realize they’re doing important work. They’ll think they’re just playing and having fun. And, after all, isn’t that the goal in Preschool or Kindergarten?
Ready to try these fine motor tasks with your preschool or kindergarten children? Click the image below to check them out:
More Fine Motor Activities and Ideas to Check Out:
- 11 Cheap and Easy Fine Motor Activities
- Developing Fine Motor Skills in Preschool and Kindergarten
- Holiday STEM Activities Bundle
- Fine Motor Sticker Activities