Fine Motor Skills: How to Improve?

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June 10, 2020

Reading Time: 4 minutes

What are fine motor skills?

Fine motor skills refer to those skills which require the use of smaller muscles of the hands or legs. It involves activities like holding a pencil or pen, scissors to cut something, constructing building blocks, and opening the lunch boxes, etc. These tasks might seem to be very easy but for a child, these are like milestones. Therefore it is very important to make them undergo regular practice for the same.

Typically, a child develops these skills until the age of five. Parents/caretakers/teachers must show great enthusiasm and must encourage every child to learn these skills in a better way. These skills will have various long-term effects if delayed to be learned at an early stage.


Why are Fine Motor Skills so important?

Parents often ask us about the importance of developing these fine motor skills. Some of the reasons are:

  • It helps the child to perform crucial tasks like thinking, grasping, and moving objects.

  • It provides the child with control over the activities that they perform.

  • It helps the child to coordinate their movements with their sensory organs.

  • It develops their handwriting and drawing skills.

  • It helps the child to become more independent and understand the work.

  • It boosts the confidence and self-esteem of the child.


What are the different types of Fine Motor Skills?

Some of the different types of fine motor skills which are generally required in every child at different phases of that development are as follows:

For a child up to 1 year:-

  • Making them hold the toys in a proper way

  • Watching over their control of things

  • Transferring objects from one hand to another

  • Squeezing objects such as water bottles


For a child aged between 1-3:-

  • Clapping hands or waving goodbye

  • Holding a pencil or scribbling with crayons on paper

  • Playing games such as building blocks, picking sticks, etc.

  • Ability to draw and identify different objects, letters, and words

  • Ability to speak by controlling the tongue movements

  • Using games like clay modeling to showcase art and craft

  • Doing small tasks like zipping a pouch, buttoning a cloth, or washing hands independently


For children aged between 4-6:–

  • Ability to eat on their own

  • Ability to get dressed and undressed without help

  • Improvements in the drawings or writings

  • Performing activities like cutting something with the scissors or tying shoelaces.

  • Ability to think and play games like jigsaw puzzles


How to Improve Fine Motor Skills?

There are a number of ways that parents/caretakers/teachers can undertake to improve these fine motor skills. Some of the ways of improving the fine motor skills are as follows:

  • Playing games: This involves certain movements of hands and the development of creative thinking. Games could be like counting steps, Lego, Jenga, Ludo or snakes & ladders, etc.

  • Regularity: Allow your child to perform small tasks on a regular basis. Some of these tasks are mentioned before.

  • Origami: It simply refers to paper art i.e. making things and objects using colorful papers. This can be a great technique and a fun way to teach your child fine motor skills because it involves a high amount of precision. Teach your child how to make greeting cards or other creative paper works.

  • Support: They are at their learning stage and it is very important to show them the correct way of doing different tasks. 

  • Role model: Parents learn from their elders. Therefore, it becomes of the utmost importance to be a perfect role model for them. They will learn by the way they see their elders performing different tasks.


How can Students Improve Fine Motor Skills in Maths

When it comes to studies, especially mathematics, there is a little different approach to develop fine motor skills. How can students improve their fine motor skills?

  • Make the child draw shapes and understand them.

  • Make the child use various mathematical tools available in the geometry box.

  • Children must be taught to patterns 

  • They must perform mathematical calculations while undergoing certain activities.

  • Building 3-D shapes or practicing back counting.

  • Relating different activities and practical examples along with mathematical problems.


Problems that a child faces while developing fine motor skills

Some of the common problems that children face during their early childhood for which a fine motor skill development is required are:

  • Difficulty in controlling and coordinating the body movements between hands and other parts

  • Difficulty in grasping the concepts or understanding things

  • Difficulty in holding different objects and controlling them

  • A poor hand and eye coordination

  • Problems related to brain, nerves, muscles or joints

Finally, it is very important that we don’t confuse fine motor skills with gross motor skills. 


What is the difference between fine motor skills and gross motor skills?

Motor skills can be categorized into two parts:

  • Gross motor skills: It refers to muscle movements that allow us to perform tasks like balancing, walking, or crawling. These are generally associated with continuous tasks. Gross motor skill development generally takes place in childhood. It can further be divided into two sub-groups:

  1. Locomotive skills such as running, jumping, and swimming, etc.

  2. Object control skills such as kicking, throwing, and catching, etc.

  • Fine motor skills: As stated before, fine motor skills refer to those skills which require the use of smaller muscles of the hands or legs like the fingers or toes. It involves activities like holding a pencil or pen, scissors to cut something, constructing building blocks, and opening the lunch boxes, etc. It is not subdivided into further categories. These skills demand constant and regular practice to convert it into a habit.


We believe that learning begins at home and a child can only develop their abilities when he/she gets the proper support from his/her elders. Through our online classes, we support children in developing their maths abilities and building their self-esteem, confidence, and other personality traits. We also have a maths gym app available on both Android and iOS, through which we help our students develop their mental skills and abilities. We guarantee our audience that we support their students at every stage of their development process. Cuemath comes up with regular such articles which helps our readers develop various skills and abilities. These are not only related to academics but are also beneficial for their overall personality development. Our articles are not just restricted to the mathematics domain for students. We try to come up with articles for both teachers and parents so that they can give proper support to children. 

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