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Let's Talk Fine Motors

Fine motor skills are SUCH a big topic in early childhood education right now. Not only is it emphasized when your child starts school, but it starts even earlier in development. This is one of those educational buzz words that tends to get thrown at parents in the early years. So today we'll take a look at what fine motor skills are, why they're important, and how you can work on these at home with your child.

Fine motors focus on the small muscles in the hands that are used to grasp, write, draw, paint, etc. Children develop these skills from infancy, and they're used throughout life and even into adulthood. Untying a knot? That's fine motor skills. Buttoning a button, zipping a zipper, picking up washers or nails? All of these tasks rely on fine motor skills to help you be successful. The reason there is so much focus on these in early childhood education is because they become super important as students learn academic skills like handwriting and cutting, and become more independent in tasks like dressing themselves and tying their own shoes. As a teacher, this was one of the biggest topics I liked to talk about with parents at the beginning of the school year. In Kindergarten, academics ramp up quickly in the second half of the year (around January) and the demands on students and their abilities increase as well. Without strong fine motors, students may have a difficult time keeping up with the pace of what's expected in terms of writing stories and completing projects in a "reasonable" amount of time. Now, that being said, every school, child and teacher is going to be different. This is not a one size fits all situation, but no matter where your child attends school, they will need to strengthen their fine motor skills!

Luckily, there are so many fun ways to work on these skills at home and at school. I always love to recommend using play dough to make creations and encourage your child to embrace their creativity! Play dough is very malleable and helps strengthen those key muscles in a fun way. Legos are also a favorite fine motor activity among preschool and Kindergarten kiddos. Again, it works these important muscles while your little one plays. I love that parents can incorporate this practice with tools they likely have at home already. Keep an eye on our printables and activities sections for more fine motor activities in February!

For more information on milestones and how to incorporate

fine motors, check out the Children's Hospital of Richmond's article here!

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