The best way to improve fine motor skills!

If your child needs help with handwriting, STOP having him practice writing letters sheet after sheet. Let’s go back to the underlying cause, which is more than likely weakened muscles in your child's hand and arm. Counteract this weakness with strengthening of your child’s hand and arm muscles.

Your child will exercise many muscles in his hands, which strengthen his fine motor skills. Have your child use his hands, fingers, knuckles, nails, palms, and wrists while he molds his playdough. You can also have your child use playdough to make the letters in his spelling words. Here are some homemade playdough recipes.

Homemade Playdough Recipe

1 cup flour
1 cup water
1/2 cup salt
1 tablespoon of oil
2 teaspoons of cream of tartar
1 teaspoon of food coloring

Place all ingredients in a pan, stir, and heat gently until it forms a lump and leaves the sides of the pan. Once it has cooled, knead the dough. You can add a few drops of scented oils for different scents. Allow to cool thoroughly. Store in an airtight container.

Edible Peanut Butter Playdough Recipe

Here is my children's favorite kind of playdough- the kind you eat. We make this at our home every couple of months. Yummy!

1 cup peanut butter 1 cup white corn syrup
1 1/4 cup powdered sugar (10x sugar)
1 1/4 cups dry milk powder

Mix peanut butter, corn syrup, and powdered sugar together. Add powdered milk and knead until smooth. (It gets very thick and must be kneaded with your child's hands for awhile, which is a great workout for your child's hands.) Your child can mold any shape he likes then eat it. We usually have a lot left over, so my children get to play with and eat peanut butter playdough for several days.

For a variation, I like to use Floam and clay. I find Floam is much easier and quicker to clean up than play dough. If your child works with clay, there are some types that can be baked, so your child can keep his creation forever. I like to integrate my children's clay projects with what they are learning in school. For example, my sons were learning about volcanoes, and they created erupting volcanoes with clay.

Check out this AWESOME and CREATIVE way to use Playdough in this best-selling unit!

Enjoy making learning FUN!


Anonymous said...

I am the mother of a 5 year old boy. He started Kindergarten 6 days ago. He was in preschool at 3 1/2 and Pre-K at 4. His Pre-K teachers said his fine motor skills were great. He is left handed so they worked with him a little more. His Kindergarten teacher is now saying after 6 days of school his fine motor skills are terrible. The way she describes him you would think he can't even hold a pencil and she is even saying he could be held back....after only 6 days. I am very concerned. At what age should a child be able to write clearly? Should I have him evaluated by an Occupational Therapist? Does the school system provide that type of evaluations or would I have to pay for that on my own? Any help you could give would be great. Thank you, Deborah

Anonymous said...

I am no expert by any means, but 2 of my brothers are left handed and still to this day don't have very good handwriting. One of them is almost 30 and graduated Valedictorian of his class and went on to get a college degree in business and the other is almost 24 and is in medical school. I wouldn't be too extremely worried about it right now. It hasn't been nearly long enough in to school year for the teacher to really determine whether or not he is going to be held back. I would work on his fine motor skills through toys such as playdoh or Theruputty, which comes in various strengths. I would be patient right now and if he doesn't improve in a couple months maybe look into something else.

Anonymous said...

I am a kindergarten teacher. I would not hold a child back for lack of fine motor skills. Some of my brightest and most talented students have limited fine motor skills. They will probably always struggle in this area, even as adults. Keep working on developing those finger muscles. There are many web sites that give ideas and activities you can do at home to help. Keep it fun and make it playful.

Meg said...

I am and Occupational Therapist at a school district. It is way too early to be concerned. Do activities that will strengthen the hand such as playing with play dough. Roll it, cut it, form shapes, animals, monsters, etc. Have him pick up small items with his thumb and index finger. Play games with dice and teach him to form a cup with his hand, even if he has to use two hands at first. This will help develop the arches of his hand. When he holds a writing utensil encourage him to place the tip of this thumb on the pencil, try to avoid the thumb wrap. You can place 3 dots around the pencil to mark where his fingers should go. When beginning to write do it in the air, sand, shaving cream. Draw letters in sidewalk chalk, big, and then have him cover the line with small rocks or sticks. I have done this with a kiddo who reversed the letter S and he got the idea really fast. All of these ideas use multiple sensory systems which is the best way for children to learn. A great handwriting program is Handwriting Without Tears. When a child is left handed make sure that when he copies something hit is not the left of him or his arm will cover it up. It needs to be above or to the right of his writing area.
I hope this helps. By then end of Kinder he should be writing most capital letters and his first name. That is usually what we expect and then in first they should be writing all caps and lower as well as first and last name. Spacing can be described as air, like the air between people. Words also like to have some air between them. That is just one strategy I have used. Thanks