Fine motor skills workshop

What motor movements really are

Motor skills are the movements and actions of the muscles in the body. They are categorized in two groups: gross motor skills and fine motor skills. Gross motor skills involve larger muscle movements such as those of the arms, legs, feet, or entire body. This includes actions such as running, dancing, swimming, cycling and other activities that involve larger muscles. Fine motor skills are the smaller muscle movements that occur between the eye and hand, hand and fingers, lips and tongue and so on. They are the smaller actions that occur in picking small things, cutting fingernails, stitching or knitting, using a pencil or pen to write carefully, holding a fork and using it to eat; and several other tasks that occur on a daily basis.

Why fine skills are important

These two subtypes of motor skills develop progressively in stages. They typically facilitate coordination of the body. Through each developmental stage of a child’s life, infancy, toddlerhood and childhood, motor skills gradually step up as per the specified growth intervals. Gross motor skills involve balance of the body, walking, lifting weights etc. and these develop by the first few years of life. Most children between the age of 6 and 12 predictably will have mastered basic fine motor skills; which are precision related. These will keep developing with age and with practice and the increased use of muscles while writing, playing a sport, using a cell phone and so on. Some develop a level of mastery to become sculptors, painters and artists, while others struggle through life with a poor handwriting and generalized clumsiness.

When these skills are impaired

Practice makes perfect. Sometime fine motor skills fail to develop or if developed, they can become impaired. Injury, illness, accident can impair fine movements. Problems with the brain, spinal cord, muscles, or joints can also have an effect on fine motor skills, and decrease coordination and muscle control. Sometimes developmental disabilities can prevent coordination from developing at the outset. Such children may show signs of difficulty with tasks like cutting with scissors, folding paper, holding the pencil properly, tying shoelaces and buttoning. All these involve fine motor skills, which if impaired, need attention in order to enable adequate functioning.

What MINDFRAMES aims to offer

At MINDFRAMES through our one to one sessions as well as workshops we provide therapeutic modalities to improve the child’s fine motor skills with individualized and age appropriate activities. These cater to the needs of all children irrespective of the cause of their complaints. They are fun filled, innovative, activity mediated exercises that facilitate children to build on hand and arm strength. They stimulate the mind as well as the large and fine muscles of the hands and legs to build on motor endurance efficiently and creatively. Homework tasks and material are offered to the parents to mitigate and accentuate the development while at home too.

Techniques that help build skills

we use these activities and many more innovative exercises that make the workshops fun filled and interactive. Most of these activities can be undertaken at home by the parents too. It just takes a little patience and ends up being a fun time for parents and the children!

  • Board games with fine pieces strengthen the pincer grasp and intricate movements
  • Block games (‘lego’ and ‘jenga’) build eye-hand coordination and shoulder movement
  • Paper cutting and folding is a fun task and can be made complex in succession
  • Origami is a fun filled craft activity that is helpful in developing hand to eye focus
  • Beading focuses on eye hand coordination and helps attention and concentration
  • Jigsaw puzzles with escalating complexity build manual dexterity (movements of fingers)
  • Drawing and coloring build dynamic tripod pencil grasp, fundamental to handwriting
  • Sorting and stacking objects in piles rows and columns, develops hand muscle power
  • Using stickers in sceneries calls for innovation; while the act of peeling builds skill
  • Play dough, more they play, stronger their hand muscles become (true for adults too!)
  • Decorative (necklace and bracelet) beading with food items like macaroni and polos
  • Using ice cream sticks and toothpicks to build; (facilitates movement and coordination)

Why motor skills

We fuss over motor skills because they are imperative for our everyday activities. Good motor skills help in:

  • Walking straight and smartly
  • Avoiding a hunch while sitting
  • Coordinating body movements
  • Building strength in the hands
  • Improving hand writing skills
  • Target precision and perfection

Where fine motor skills help

Children need fine motor skills for a number of tasks that include:

  • Writing
  • Drawing
  • Tying laces
  • Eating
  • Drinking
  • Stringing
  • Sculpting
  • Beading

Frequently Asked Questions

Can we do this at home?
Formal therapy programs are essential to initiate the process of building these skills. However home therapy is ever encouraged. We believe that 60 minutes of our therapy per week only acts as the foundation stone for the remainder of the therapy process that ought to happen in the child’s home. Parents have a significant role to play in the process. Simple tips from the therapist can assist in building the child’s skills for the lifetime.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does writing on a black or white board help handwriting?
Before trying to learn specific letterforms or shapes, children need to learn to practice writing from their arm and shoulder in the air. This is best attained through a white or black board. Children must not use their fingers or wrist. When they write big sweeping movements their strokes become much cleaner and smoother. It builds hand strength and is the first exercise towards good handwriting development.