I’ve noticed a sharp decline, in those essential fine motor skills, since we’ve become a more techie society and it’s not good. Now I know that keyboard skills are really important, but surely the humble pencil needs a look in? I’ve been doing a heap of 4 year old developmental assessments at my ‘other job’ and most 4 year olds struggle to hold a pencil correctly. Ten years ago I was testing 3 year olds in England and their fine motor skills were so much better than what i’m seeing today. I get the odd ‘genius’ with the pencil, such as Miss Phoebe, but they are a drop in the ocean.
I was reading an article in the Sunday paper that confirmed my findings and it wasn’t pretty: http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/helping-children-to-get-a-grip/story-e6freuy9-1226406281724
Has the iPad taken over and the humble pencils and paper been demoted? From what I heard they have. We need to change this around. We need fine motor (hand skills) for so many things – dressing, fastening buttons, tying shoelaces, threading, brushing teeth, feeding ourselves, writing. it’s that hand-eye co-ordination thing. Read more at: http://www.fingergym.info/downloads/Finemotordevpp1-4.pdf
Being able to tap a screen and play lovely games doesn’t work that fine motor thing. I’m a girl who loves her iPhone and her Mac and I’m sure I’d love an iPad too. But tapping a screen doesn’t help me draw my vaccines up at work, dress myself in the morning or feed myself does it?
So you’re asking … how can we help our littlies?
Well here is the solution:
- Start with a really good thick and chubby crayon – easier to grasp. Triangular pencils are a fab idea – they promote the correct grip. Kidstuff and Koskela’s have a great selection: http://kidstuff.com.au/ and http://www.koskela.com.au/
- Practice on a regular basis, ideally daily.
- Draw with them – you may discover your inner child or a new found love of drawing. It’s really fun and they need to copy first before doing their thing. Practice copying circles, capital letter H, A, T, X and drawing a person with body parts in the correct places. Start with a head and move on from there till it becomes second nature to your child.
- Practice cutting out shapes and outlines with safety scissors. Kidstuff does a great selection of scissors
- Chalk board
- Etch-a-sketch (Kidstuff do these)
- Building with wooden blocks, approx 1 inch square. Lego doesn’t quite do it but is a close second.
- Threading beads onto a shoelace