Baby's First Year · Parenting

Great minds with small hands: The importance of fine motor skills


Toddler sitting in highchair playing with playdough
I will never forget the moment my daughter was about 2 months old when she first discovered her hands. She lifted her arms up in front of her face while in her swing and carefully turned her hand as if she was saying “What is this? How do I use it?

From baby’s first year children love to touch things even when you say “hands off, please!”  The small muscles in their hands and fingers, known as fine motor muscles, are a powerful tool for children and they will take full advantage of them.

Children have curious minds and love to explore their world, no matter what age.

Did you know that squishing, squeezing, stretching and moulding things such as play dough, helps build muscle strength in the fingers and hands?  This can make it easier to do other fine motor activities like cutting with scissors or holding a pencil.

Benefits of fine motor skills:

  • develops good eye/hand coordination needed for physical activity and playing sports
  • stimulates sense of touch
  • helps children focus
  • helps increase a child’s imagination
  • reduces screen time
  • helps children play together and have fun

Sense of touch is one of the senses that can help boost a child’s brain by making patterns for thinking, memory and habits.

Tips to promote fine motor skills:

  • make things with play dough together
  • paint with a brush or finger/hand paint
  • throw a ball and play catch
  • make crafts together with a variety of materials (e.g. different textured paper)
  • do sidewalk chalk drawings together
  • pretend playing drums

Fun activity ideas to help your child develop their fine motor skills:

Watch this video on other fine motor skills ideas to boost your baby’s brain

Comment below to share your ideas to help promote your child’s fine motor skills.

If you have concerns or questions regarding your child’s growth and development, please consult their health care provider or connect with our nurse on eChat or call (416) 338-7600.  Visit Toronto Public health for information on parenting programs/services in Toronto.

Leave a Reply