What are Fine Motor Skills?
Fine Motor Skills involve the use of small muscle movements and mainly includes the control of small movements of the hands and fingers as well as the small muscles in the face, mouth and feet. Most often, there is a focus on the small muscles in the hands. These skills are important in day to day school activities as well as throughout our lives. Fine Motor Skill efficiency greatly influences the speed of task performance. As with most areas of child development, a lag in one area can have a significant impact on other areas of development.
In order to develop fine motor skills, there are certain toys and activities such as colouring, drawing, origami and many more. Using crayons, pencils, paintbrushes and other such items is an integral part in developing these skills. These fine motor skills are then required later in life to dress up, tie shoelaces, , turn the pages in a book, using a knife and fork to eat food and so on. With good development of fine motor skills, therefore movement of the hand muscles, when formal schooling begins it is easier for children to learn handwriting because the child is focusing less on how to hold the pencil and more on what they are doing or writing with it.
In a nutshell, Fine Motor skills include:
- Pencil skills (drawing, writing, colouring, painting),
- Construction skills (Lego, blocks),
- Scissors skills (cutting),
- Self care (closing buttons, tying shoelaces)
The four essential bases for Fine Motor Skills are as follows (reference: http://www.ot-mom-learning-activities.com/fine-motor-development-essential-bases.html)
- Postural Control Base – this refers to the shoulder muscles and the stability they give the body.
- Tactile Perception Base/Touch Perception – this refers to the response the child gets from their fingers when they touch something. Signs that this need to be improved include clumsiness, dropping things and grasping onto things tightly to really “feel” them.
- Bilateral Coordination Base – this refers to the use of both sides of the body in a coordinated way.
- Hand Function – this works on getting the small muscles of the hands to learn to work well together to control pencils and other small objects.