I was reading about the five (or four, depending on which group you consult) developmental areas for a child’s development and did my own personal assessment of where Sam falls in each. Her previous pre-school teachers said in their report last June that her abilities are age appropriate… all I needed to hear really. I feel that has helped her quickly adjust and adapt to her new Montessori-based pre-school (more on this soon!) where she mingles with the older kids.
Now that I am looking for new things for us to do together on a regular basis outside of school, I realized that the biggest opportunity for us to work on are her fine motor skills. Don’t get me wrong, I feel that all her current activities — school, Kumon, even her playdates and activities with friends — all contribute to that and the other aspects of her development. But to be honest, when I consciously think about it, fine motor-skills aren’t exactly my strong suit either. So in retrospect, I noticed that the choices of our activities tend to consciously strengthen the other aspects more.
I started reading up on fine motor skills and activities that I could do with Sam to focus on developing this in her further (If that makes me a nerdy mom, so be it, haha!). Note that this is in no way scientific; it’s just our idea of learning fun.
- More Play-Doh activities. Art activities in general such as drawing, coloring, painting, and even learning to write should help develop this further; but by allowing Sam to push the play-doh together and pinch it with her fingers should gradually build control and strength in them. I’ve also purchased several art materials that help build her attention to detail — gluing and pasting small items for instance.
- Kumon Workbooks. I found a few workbooks on Amazon for Sam’s age that encourage her to cut, fold, paste, and write. I realized Sam has never held a pair of scissors up until a few days ago when I ordered a set of child-friendly Melissa & Doug scissors for her to use for her workbooks. It is actually a fun exercise that helps develop a child’s hand-control. Since then, everyday she has asked to “cut paper” and we’ve made a few fun things tied together with “sticky tape”, as Sam calls it. The other workbooks are parked on my Amazon wish list, for easy access in the future.
Practice with the Basic Skills Board (and others like it). This is the next item on my wish list once Sam has exhausted the newness and activities of all the other items mentioned above. In her new pre-school her teacher mentioned that she enjoyed their buttons and zipper activities, and Sam echoed this activity repeatedly when she told me about her day at school. I’m quite excited because it will definitely make dressing her up much easier in the long run!
- iPad and iPhone Games. Okay, I know this is controversial to some parents, but I’ve actually found that there are a lot of good games toddlers can play on these gadgets that can help with their finger control. Sam has been adept with the iPod since she was a year old and so now it’s very easy for her to navigate and find the ones she likes. She paints, draws, makes puzzles, and does all these other things I’ve never seen her do before! So I find it an amazing tool.
There we have it! My own ad hoc attempts at fine motor skill development. Of course we have to remember that she’s also only just turning three, so I don’t expect any of these to be perfected or mastered in the next few months. I do believe though that exposing it to her this early and making it fun for her to do, will make progress through these skills easier in the future. Who knows, she may even enjoy crocheting (a high school subject I absolutely despised!)!