The definition of literacy is the ability to read and write, but we tend to focus most of our energy on the reading half. But writing is just as important for literacy, and is often a challenge for kids.
Whether it's the physical act of forming letters on paper or more advanced concerns like sentence structure and punctuation, writing can be tough! Does your child struggle to form letters or complain about hand pain? Parents can help by working with children to develop fine motor skills.
If you're new to this term, fine motor skill development is the development of control over the movement of the small muscles in your child's hands. As a child develops, he goes from basic control of these muscles to much more coordinated control. And as he develops control of his fine motor skills, the physical act of writing becomes easier. This is great -- we want it to be easy! Because if writing is easy, your child will do it more, and as he writes more, he will become a stronger reader, and as he becomes a stronger reader, he will also become a stronger writer … see where I'm going with this?
Fine motor skills are well worth working on. Here are five easy-as-pie ways your child can work on fine motor skills and have fun doing it.
1. Knead Play-Doh (or real dough!)
Yep, it’s that easy. Grab some store-bought dough or make your own and let them at it. You can add fun little bits to it such as buttons and beads to kick it up a notch, but any dough will help build fine motor skills.
2. Unlock Some Learning … I mean padlocks!
Fitting a key into a lock and twisting it openly takes a lot of hand strength and helps to build those muscles. Kids LOVE this activity, and you can get locks at the dollar store!
You need a new necklace, right? Grab some beads and shoelaces and let your little ones make you something stunning to wear. Beading works in fine motor skills and is a calm, fun activity after a busy day.
4. Build With Legos
Yes, the little ones! Duplo is great but if we are fine-tuning fine motor skills we need to use these little classic blocks. It doesn’t matter what your child makes — just get them creating and building.
Cheap and completely portable stickers are so much more amazing than we give them credit for. Peeling the stickers off the backing takes a lot of coordination and helps build those little skills that will, in turn, help your child write more easily.
What are your favorite ways to build fine motor skills? Share your favorite activities on Scholastic Parents Facebook page!
Featured Photo Credit: (c) Kobyakov/Thinkstock
Check out bloggers Amy Mascott and Allie McDonald's book, Raising a Rock-Star Reader: 75 Quick Tips for Helping Your Child Develop a Lifelong Love for Reading. Get expert advice and learn new strategies for your young readers.