How to Improve Fine Motor Skills – Tips – Here’s are some tips, exercises and toys for improving on fine motor skills in children who have problems with handwriting, snapping buttons, etc.
My son was diagnosed with Asperger’s Disease (on the Autism Spectrum) at a very early age. I had noticed that he was having problems, or delays, with his fine motor skills growth. I’ve had varying degrees of success with these how to improve fine motor skills tips. I would suggest that all have reasonably helped my son a great deal. The best part is that these tips and games are very easy to incorporate into daily play. One final suggestion, I would use these tips and create specific practice around them. You can’t just throw these toys and tips out there for a child to play with, they must be incorporated around structured play-time and guidance.
How to Improve Fine Motor Skills – Tips & Toys
Therapy Putty – Buy some therapy putty. A store like Binson’s will have it. Purchase some cheap letters or beads from a craft store (Dollar Stores work great, too). Put the “prizes” in the putty and encourage your child to dig through the putty to find the prizes! Play Dough works reasonably well if you are having a hard time finding therapy putty.
Lite Brite – They still make the 1970’s classic toy and the tiny pieces make fine motor skills mastery necessary to make the pictures. I encourage using the stenciled guidelines included with the Lite Brite so the child has to be particular with pieces as opposed to just being random. It really teaches concentration!
Legos – Legos are a great way to improve fine motor skills for obvious reasons. I recommend using the tinier lego sets with the small pieces. Like Lite Brite, I’d try to have the child make a specific plan or design to encourage concentration and sorting.
Perfection – Perfection is the old board game where you place pieces into a puzzle before the board “pops up”. The pieces have a tiny holder you have to hold in order to put it in the right spot. These tiny pieces make increasing fine motor skills fun.
Stacking – Many parents of autistic children already know that many ASD spectrum are predisposed to naturally enjoy sorting or stacking. Sorting and stacking tiny objects may be a naturally fun way to increase the fine motor skills they may lack due to autism or ASD symptoms. I bought several smaller dice (die) and challenged my son to see how high he could stack them. Poker chips and pennies also work well.
Electronic Games – My husband has an ancient hand-held Mattel Football Game that still works great. The small buttons give a child a great thumb workout to increase fine motor skills. Any small electronic game with smaller buttons will work and any department store will have some for under $10.
Friendship Factory – Their Downtown Rochester and Partridge Creek locations sell bracelet makers that use beads and small trinkets to make bracelets, necklaces, buttons, lanyards and more. The toys are not only designed to make these items, they are quite fun and addicting to use. My son’s fine motor skills improved each time he “completed” a bracelet
I’m guessing many of the toy makers on my how to improve fine motor skills tips list didn’t envision helping children with Autism with fine motor skills when they created these toys, but they certainly help.