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Fine Motor Skills

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Young Child Eating In Food Court
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Definition: Fine motor skills are tasks that utilize the small muscles of the body like those in the fingers. Toddlers around a year of age are usually able to perform fine motor skills like holding a cup, grasping a spoon, picking up chunks of food and putting small objects into a larger container. Usually at this age, there is not that much involvement of the thumb.

As a child gets closer to 2 years of age, fine motor skill increases to include tasks like drawing with a crayon, using a fork or spoon with more precision and stacking small objects like blocks. Closer to 3 and 4 years of age, children begin to master fine motor skills like zipping, snapping and buttoning clothing and drawing and writing skills show marked improvements.

You can encourage your child's development in this area by offering plenty of opportunity to practice. Art activities like finger painting and playing with playdough are very effective at stimulating fine motor development. Purchase a set of small blocks or a peg board puzzle, show your child how to use them and then allow him to play with them freely.

In addition, you should try to avoid unwittingly doing things that might hinder fine motor development. For instance, if you regularly feed your child from a spoon, instead work on letting him pick pieces of food off his high chair or a plate. Allow your child to use a spoon as soon as he shows interest. If you feel like he's not getting enough food in his mouth, use the first part of the feeding to spoon-feed him and let him finish up.

Also Known As: small motor skills
Examples:
My son's fine motor skills have increased quite a lot in just a year. At first he could barely hold a crayon and now he's drawing faces.

Readers Respond: Fine Motor Activities

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