School means writing and although teachers may work on the actual writing your child needs to have the fine motor skills to hold the pencil correctly and with control needed to write legiable letters. This doesn't mean that you need to sit and practice writing over and over again until they can hold the pencil correctly - it means that there is a lot of fun and games you can play to develop their fine motor skills without it feeling like a lesson.
Here's some fun simple ideas you can start your child with from when they are a toddler all the way up.
We know as adults how difficult it can be to remove stickers from their backing - those foam stickers are especially hard to peel off but the fine motor skills used to peel them off without breaking them or tearing the back are just those needed for holding a pencil with control. I wish I could say that when the stickers came out it always looked like the picture above with J and T sitting nicely sticking them on pictures that they added colour to - however there are many many more occasions when the case is that they get hold of the stickers and stick them on everything in sight including themselves and me (please tell me I'm not the only one to walk out of the house with various stickers attached to my clothes and hair without remembering!).
Believe me when I say it's best to start with quite sturdy bugs - worms and snails are a good place to start - they are generally bigger than other animals but they need control to pick them up especially when they are wriggling away - you can dig over the soil with your child - great for developing some of the bigger muscles needed for writing as well! - then have fun picking up and counting the worms and transfering them from place to place.
Pinching, pullling, moudling all fantastic activities for those little hands to develop their fine motor skills - add in some extra's - googley eyes, pipe cleaners, pom poms etc... and you extend the fine motor control as they start to form shapes and creatures with the playdough and extras. Find our recipes for Fine Motor skills and see which one will be best for you and your preschooler to make.
Threading or Sewing
Controlling where the needle, string or beads go is fantastic for fine motor skills - and it doesn't have to be just creating pretty necklaces or sewing for girls - boys can thread spider's webs, produce bubble wands from pipe cleaners or create birds nests from the threading that they are doing.
I used the above game as an illustration of turn taking to promote social skills as part of the first post I did on the Getting Reading for K through play series - but the game of connect 4 or other similar games where you post counters or even turn over cards are great for developing those fine motor skills and fun to do as well as having the benefits of working on social skills as well.
This is part of the Get Reading for K through Play series - this week focusing on Fine Motor and writing skills that preschoolers and you can help develop over the summer in preparation for school in the Autumn.
The other blogs are sharing other fun ideas and activities to help your children develop fine motor and writing skills pop over and check out their ideas.