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Promoting Fine Motor Skill Development This Summer

By Grace Golojuch, MS, OTR/L


Due to a virtual learning environment over the past school year, students generally engaged in less writing and more use of technology to work on academic skills. As we look forward to more group activities, family gatherings, and summer fun; we are here to remind you that this summer is the perfect time to work on fine motor skill development in preparation for the return to in-person school.

Due to less use of the small muscles in the hands, students may have experienced a decrease in endurance for longer writing tasks. In addition, fine motor accuracy may not be as strong as it once was which can impact legibility for handwriting. Don’t fret! We are here to provide you with ideas for how to work on fine motor skills in a FUN way this summer!

Ways to Build Hand Strength this Summer: Tactile Play

  • Play-doh: roll into a work to form letters or numbers; make small balls using fingers

  • Sand play- at the beach or indoors using kinetic sand!

  • Make slime- involve the child in opening containers, scooping, pouring, and mixing

  • Water beads- work on using a pincer grasp to pick up or using a spoon to scoop into a container

  • Water play- incorporate scooping, squeezing water out of the bottle


Crafts

  • Paper folding or origami- find step by step videos online

  • Cutting and gluing activities- add crumping tissue paper for extra hand strength work!

  • Color by number- use crayons or colored pencils and a preferred theme for the most success

  • Beading

  • Clay play

  • Painting

Household Activities

  • Play games that involve tongs (or add tongs or clothespins to move the pieces in your favorite games!)

  • Use a spray bottle for cleaning activities

  • Wipe down tables or windows with towel

  • Help with meal preparation- mixing, scooping, ripping lettuce, kneading dough, etc

Even when doing fun activities this summer, you can be intentional about promoting fine motor skill development by incorporating some of the activities above and your own! If your child is currently working on writing in school, you can also find creative ways to add writing into your daily summer routines. Have your child write in a daily journal, help with writing a schedule for the day, or make a grocery list.

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