Sharing in story time with your child is an invaluable experience that provides so many benefits for your child’s learning and meaningful interactions. Little Birdie Books does an amazing job of transforming our waiting room into story time for so many of our families. But as an Occupational Therapist I just love the craft activities that accompany our new books each month!
Craft activities are an amazing way to develop and monitor your child’s fine motor skills, problem solving skills and executive functioning in a fun and exciting way! Fine Motor skills describe the capacity of our smaller hand and finger muscles that help us perform tasks such as handwriting, using cutlery, typing, playing with lego or play doh, drawing, playing board games! The list goes on! Typically children follow a standard trajectory of developing these fine motor skills, but there’s so much parents can do to help their little ones develop these muscles. One of these being craft activities!
Things to look for in your child’s fine motor development:
- Using two hands together: This is called bilateral coordination. Is your child beginning to use their hands together to perform tasks such as, opening a container, drinking from a cup, doing up buttons etc.
- Crossing the midline: Is your child able to cross the imaginary line that divides their body from their Left and Right. Crossing the midline is important for reading from left to right, writing, completing coordinated movements in physical activities and self-care tasks like getting dressed or brushing their teeth.
- Hand eye-coordination: Can your child process the information they are seeing with their eyes to guide their hands and arms to achieve a task such as catching a ball, drawing a person or writing.
- Hand Dominance: Are they consistently using one hand more than the other. This encourages your child to establish refined skills so that they can perform activities such as writing, brushing their teeth, or tying their shoelaces more confidently.
- Manipulate objects: Can they purposefully manipulate and skilfully utilise tools such as a pencil, lego block or scissors and execute controlled use of everyday objects like a hairbrush or cutlery.
- Hand division: Can they isolate their fingers and begin using their thumb, index and middle finger for grasping smaller objects such as a pencil, button, coins or lego.
- Finger Opposition: Can they make an ‘o’ with their thumb and index finger (the ‘ok’ sign)- Our thumbs are designed to be able to touch the pad of each finger tip. An open webbed space encourages finger movement for fluid handwriting.
Interestingly, all of these things can be observed during a craft activity!
If you are concerned at all about your child’s fine motor development, you can contact your local Occupational Therapist, or please feel free to contact us at Cooee Speech Pathology to chat with one of our OT’s on 3265 4495, or book an assessment online today