Fine Motor

Hands-on Learning Games:Improve Your Child’s Fine Motor Coordination

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When my foster daughter came to us, she had a lot of trouble holding a crayon, coloring in the lines, and drawing with a pen or a pencil. I used a bunch of techniques to teach her about drawing, but this (and some other hands-on learning games) was really great for strengthening those finger muscles.

Not only did she have fun, but I had all of her siblings demanding a turn also! It was cute to see her 2 year old brother and 3 year old sister so intent on their work.

They stuck to it even though it was clearly hard for them; probably because it gave them a legitimate reason to play with water. I didn't mind so much, because the mess is minimal (wait until they start washing out their own dishes- then you'll have a better idea of what I mean!)

Even though she ended up having to share this game as soon as we took it out of the kitchen closet, I still began seeing improvement in the first few weeks, and within about two months she was generally able to color in the lines most of the time.

You could extend this game and make it even more interesting by using different colors of water, and letting your child seeing what happens when they mix two of them. We haven't gotten to it yet, but we'll get to it sometime!


-child-sized food tray

-2 or 3 pipettes or eyedroppers (you can find this at the pharmacy, or a well-stocked toy store in the science section)

-food coloring

- 2 very small containers such as egg cups, children’s tea cups, or tea light holders

How to Prepare the Game:

1)     Place both containers on the tray.

2)     Fill one of them about 2/3 full of colored water.

3)     Place a pipette or eyedropper on the tray. Provide a small cloth for spills.

How to Play the Game:

1)     Show your child how to use the pipette or eyedropper.

2)      Let them practice transferring the colored water from one container to the other.

3)     When your child finishes filling one containers, show her how to turn the tray so that the full container is now on the LEFT side (this helps prepare her for the left-to-right progression of writing).

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