When Henry was first diagnosed with his autism, we learned that one area he needed help on was to improve fine motor skills for him. Henry had other delays in milestones as a baby and then as a toddler. He didn’t speak until he was a year old and he didn’t learn to walk until he was 16 months old. When we were told he needed help with his gross and fine motor skills, we had no idea what that even meant. With the help of a great therapist, we were guided in our new chapter in our lives; working with autistic children. It is one of the hardest but well worth jobs a parent could have. When I was researching what we would do to help improve these skills, I found some great things we could do with simple items we already had at home.
Tips To Improve Fine Motor Skills In Children
- Pinching: Take a handful of pennies and ask your child to pick them up, one by one and place them into a container. You can also use any number of small objects, just be sure they are flat as that is where the fine motor comes into play. Another fun activity is to take 2 small containers, one filled with water and an eye dropper. Ask your child to transfer the water from one container to the other using the eye dropper. Add a drop or 2 of food coloring to make it fun!
- Legos: Legos are a great way to work on fine motor skills and what kid doesn’t love playing with Legos! Although the larger blocks are fine for really young kids, the smaller Legos will be the choice that will give their fingers a workout.
- Screw It: Take a handful of large screws and matching nuts and have your child twist a nut onto the screw. This was one of Henry’s favorite things to do with his Occupational Therapy. Magnets are also a great manipulative and there is a really cool company that has a very inventive and new way to look at magnetic toys. Over at Tegu, you will not only see a company with some cool products, but you will also see a company with some really big hearts.
Using Magnets For Fine Motor Skills
Until we met Miss Amy at the OT center, I had not heard of using magnets for fine motor skills. Amy had an array of toys and tools in her office and Henry looked forward to going each week. We loved Amy and I learned a lot from her in the short time we saw her. Amy had several different items that had magnetic properties. Henry absolutely loved playing with the magnets and at 11, he still love playing with them! One of the neatest products from Tegu is the Pocket Pouch Prism ($30.00). This is a little surprise in a felt bag! There are 5 colored magnetic blocks that can be made into any number of shapes. When Henry opened the bag, he sat on his bed for almost an hour playing with it. I will say he is a bit too old for this level of play, but it has been helpful, especially when he is feeling anxious. If I don’t find something to keep his hands busy when he is upset or angry, I will end up with another hole in the wall. Something I want to mention about Tegu is about their work overseas. When Chris was on a work trip to Honduras in May 2006, he reconnected in Tegucigalpa with some friends. There they discussed the current rate of unemployment and lack of utilization of the natural resources. For every set of Tegu blocks purchased, a tree is planted or a child is sent to school. To learn more about this progress, I would love it if you took 3 minutes to learn about the work in Honduras.
One reader will win a set of the Pocket Pouch Prism ($30.00)