In Activities, Expert opinion, The Nursery

Each month, Jackie Hardie, owner of The Nursery, gives advice and guidance on aspects of parenting. Drawing on over twenty years experience working with early years children, including roles as a Reception teacher and an Ofsted inspector, running an international education consultancy, and of course, being a parent, Jackie gives down-to-earth and practical advice.

This month, Jackie focuses on helping children develop their fine motor skills.

It is important to remember good old fashioned creative play.

We cannot expect young children to be able to use pencils, crayons or scissors unless they have the strength in their hands and fingers to do so. To help build this strength and help develop their fine motor skills,   the small muscles in children’s hands need to be provided with a good workout at every opportunity.

As a previous reception teacher, I used to see many children become frustrated with the writing process as they simply did not have the strength in their hands to write freely. They knew what they wanted to write but forming the letters with control caused them great frustration. This had a detrimental effect on their self-esteem as early writers.

At The Nursery the staff carefully plan experiences, from the baby room through to preschool, that focus on the children developing their hand muscles. All these activities can easily be carried out in the home environment.

Play dough: Make your own play dough with your child and encourage them to squash, squeeze, tear and stretch the dough.  You can add different food colouring, glitter and food essence to change the smell, colour and texture.

Gloop: Children are fascinated by gloop.  Mix one to two cups of cornflour with water until it forms a gloopy texture. Give your child a spoon, lollipop stick or just let them use their fingers to explore this mixture as it changes from a solid to a liquid.

Shredded paper: Simply empty your shredded paper, ensuring there are no staples.  Children can squash, tear and twist the paper. You can even add some water which will change the texture and keep your child interested in the experience.

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