Have fun developing your child’s brain this summer.
Summer means pools, parks, beaches, campsites, bike rides, and backyard barbecues. But the warm season is not all about fun. It’s also about learning.
It’s the only time of the year when you have your kids for the entire day as schools are closed.
So don’t let this summer break be only about having fun with your kids. Instead, make it a fun learning experience for them by trying some fine motor activities.
The Importance of Fine Motor Skills
As you probably guessed from the name, fine motor activities develop fine motor skills.
Let’s discuss their importance and explore 12 fun activities to do this summer.
Fine Motor Skills and Child Development
By definition, fine motor skills refer to the coordination of small muscles during movements, such as the synchronization of our hands and fingers with our eyes.
Fine motor skills help your child develop control over the small muscles through which they move their hands, fingers and thumbs.
Without proper fine motor skills, your child may have difficulty performing essential day-to-day tasks, such as writing, eating, or putting on clothes.
Here are 12 fun activities to improve your child’s fine motor skills this summer.
1. Play at the Playground
Playgrounds offer kids fun, friends, and fresh air. But that’s not all. They also offer a means to develop hand strength and various grasp patterns.
The next time you take your kid to the playground, encourage him to engage in the following activities that help develop fine motor skills:
- Climbing a ladder
- Climbing “up” the slide
- Sliding down a pole
- Swinging on a swing
- Swinging on the monkey bars
2. Write Or Draw On the Sidewalk Using Chalk
Kids love writing and drawing, especially on big surfaces like a sidewalk.
This is another activity that helps kids develop hand strength and various grasp patterns. Plus, anything written or drawn by chalk on a sidewalk can be erased with minimum effort.
So why not encourage your kids to indulge in a fun activity that improves their fine motor skills?
3. Pop Bubbles
If you’re looking for an activity that improves isolation of the fingers, speed and eye-hand coordination, then have your child pop some bubbles using their index finger only.
4. Paint the Sidewalk
This is similar to drawing on the sidewalk with chalk — but with a lot more fun involved.
We recommend making sidewalk paint yourself at home because you’ll have more fun that way.
It’s not expensive, and it’s certainly not difficult to make.
All you need to do is mix half a cup of cornflour with half a cup of cold water and food coloring â€” and voila! You have made yourself some homemade sidewalk paint.
5. Enjoy a Water Fight
Who doesn’t love to get wet with cold water on hot summer days, right? So let your kids cool down by spraying each other using water guns or let them have a water balloon fight.
These fun activities not only help your kids cool down, but also improve hand strength and mobility.
6. Squeeze A Sponge
Have your kid submerge a large sponge into a bucket filled with water, and then run to another bucket to squeeze the water out using both hands.
Although this activity is more work and less fun, it’s also the most effective at developing fine motor skills. But since many kids find it boring, we recommend doing it only if your kid enjoys it.
7. Play In Sand
Are you going to a beach? Then take some buckets and shovels along with you.
When you get there, let your kid play with the sand. Let him fill his hands with sand because doing so helps build hand dexterity and mobility.
Also, have him use the buckets and shovels you brought along to pour sand from one bucket to another to build forearm strength.
8. Beach Volleyball
While we are talking about beaches, never miss a chance to indulge in the most fun beach activity, volleyball! It helps develop arm strength, shoulder stability, and eye-hand coordination.
9. Pin Clothes On A Line
Hanging laundry? Get your kids to help you pin the clothes. Squeezing those little pins between the thumb and index finger helps build finger strength.
10. Spray Bottle Race
To enjoy a spray bottle race, you have to take the following steps:
- Fill a large container halfway with water.
- Put some floating toys in the container.
- Fill up some spray bottles with water and give them to your kids.
- Have your kids use the spray bottles to race the toys across the container.
This fun activity helps with fine motor coordination and hand strength.
11. Paint With Dirt
Does your kid love playing in the mud? Then letting him paint with it can be a great way to boost his fine motor skills.
For this activity, you will need some paper to draw on and a watercolor brush to draw with. Using the brush and mud, your kid can express his imagination with some paint.
12. Spell With Sticks and Stones
Is your child old enough to spell words? If so, then gather a variety of sticks and small rocks and use them to form letters with your child.
This fun activity can help you test your child’s vocabulary while helping him improve his fine motor skills.
If you’re concerned about your child’s fine motor skill development or would like to learn more about them, our pediatric occupational therapists can help.
Our team of pediatric occupational therapists can answer any question you may have, and give you guidelines on how to help your child develop their fine motor skills the right way.