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What are Fine Motor Skills?

Fine Motor Skills Defined

Fine motor skills refer to one's ability to control the small movements in the hands, face, and other parts of the body. Most commonly, fine motor skills are used to describe one’s ability to control the smaller muscles in their fingers and hands. When teachers or therapists use the phrase, they are usually referring to the skills necessary for hand writing and manipulating small objects.


The Importance of Fine Motor Skills

Fine Motor Skills are necessary for stacking blocks

Children use fine motor movement in many stages of their development. From stacking blocks to coloring with crayons, kids use the fine muscles in their fingers and hands to accurately manipulate the world around them. When a child is playing with small objects such as beads, markers, legos, and toys, he or she is strengthening their fine motor coordination. This skill will translate into more refined movements as he or she ages and develops. Even as an adult, fine motor skills are necessary in everyday life such as writing, typing, or even buttoning a blouse.

Children who struggle with fine motor skills may not be able to tie their shoelaces, write legibly, or hold eating utensils correctly. Because fine motor movements are necessary for many every-day activities, children with low fine motor coordination often feel frustrated and their self-esteem can suffer.


Fine Motor Development

Poor core stability, weakness in shoulder or hand muscles, and poor coordination skills can all impact on your child's development. To improve any number of Fine Motor skills such as handwriting, a student will need to address their stability, strength, and coordination.

When a child simply repeats a motion over and over, like tracing letters, his or her coordination and core stability are not addressed and the handwriting will greatly suffer. It’s important for that child to practice coordination with writing by using both sides of the brain at the same time. Through tutoring, students can practice a variety of skills. For example, Wise Owl’s handwriting program teaches students to occasionally write with both hands at the same time, challenging their brain to coordinate across the hemispheres. Muscles are strengthened through both small motor movements and large motions to ensure the development of both shoulder and hand muscles.

At home, you can improve handwriting and other fine motor skills through fun and creative games. For example, creating jewelry from beads, building legos, or playing with fuse beads can all foster development of coordination while strengthening those finger muscles.


For more specific tasks you can practice at home or to enroll your child in an all-encompassed, multi-sensory handwriting program, call or email Arcadia Literacy & Learning today!


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