I love going to the Dollar Store and finding great (inexpensive) tools that I can use to create purposeful activities.
When working on fine motor skills it is important that your child learn how to use both sides of his hand simultaneously and in a coordinated manner. In a nutshell, you want the first 2-3 fingers of the hand (which includes the thumb aka the radial side of the hand) to do the work/movement while the last 2-3 digits of the hand work as stabilizers (aka. ulnar side of the hand). This is an important pre-cursor to a good pencil grasp. Think about it, the first few digits of the hand hold the pencil and move during handwriting activities while the ulnar side of the hand pushes down into the table to stabilize the paper.
With that said, we work on:
Nesting Skills (i.e. picking up small items with fingers and placing them in the palm of the hand)
Retrieving Skills (i.e transferring small items from the palm of the hand to the tip of the fingers)
Pincer Grasp Strength (i.e. using the thumb and one or 2 other fingers to pick up items. This is a precursor to a functional tripod grasp for writing)
What I also love about Tic-Tac-Toe is that it’s a great visual perceptual and problem solving game!
You will need:
- Tic Tac Toe board from dollar store
Ask you child to place putty behind the board game (this will provide resistance to strengthen little fingers and helps keep the pegs upr
The goal is to work on nesting and retrieving skills therefore,
Place all the pegs in your child’s hand and have them use the same hand to wiggle one peg at a time out of their palm (retrieving)
When one round is done, ask your child to pick up one peg at a time and keep them in the palm of their hand (nesting)
Pincer grasp: when pushing a peg into the board, make sure your child uses only their thumb and index finger.
For children with more advanced finger skills, I like to give them one peg at a time from the bottom and have them flip it using their fingers to hold it from the head of the bunny before pushing it into the peg board.