10 activities to develop your baby’s Fine motor skills

I remember many years ago reading an old dog eared childhood development book and it highlighted setting a good learning foundation for baby.

Now, this was by no means flash cards and wall posters. Rather a series of learning through play ideas that would strengthen your baby’s fine and gross motors and develop their cognitive thinking.

These activities are easier than you may imagine to introduce to your baby and here are 10 of my favourite ways to encourage your baby’s fine motor skills development.

Fine motor skills are the little hand and finger muscles that assist our children to write later on.

1. Scribbling and drawing

I introduced Hamish to fat crayons and paper as soon as he could sit in his Bumbo chair. In the beginning he just grasped the crayon and moved it from hand to hand but by 8 months he had begun to make marks on the paper.

2. Stacking

Your baby should be able to start stacking one block on top of each other from about 6 months.

There are many other items you can stack like kitchen cups, boxes and Tupperware.

3. Sorting

From about 10 months Hamish was able to sort items with help but very few at a time. For example he could give me both socks from the bowl with socks and shoes. He could pass me the dummies out of the toy box.

As he got a got older I gave him soft toys to sort asking him to pass me the bunnies or give me the dog puppets.

4. Picking up and posting

Posting came naturally to Hamish also from about 5 or 6 months old as he mimicked what we showed him. Those who’ve followed us from the beginning will remember the washing machine box I made him.

Any container can be used to post items. You can post small toys into an empty coffee can or cut holes in a Tupperware lid and post bottle caps through.

5. Play dough

I love playdough and you will find my blog riddled with play dough recipes and reviews.

Such a versatile product. Great for strengthening those muscles as they pinch, pull, push and raise it to their mouth.

It’s non toxic so totally safe, although revolting, to taste.

I introduced Hamish to playdough as early as I did crayons and at first he really did just feel it and try eat it. From around 10 months he began cutting it with cutters and trying to roll it out.

6. Dressing self or toys

This has taken Hamish a bit longer. He only dressed himself from about 18 months but there are children who from months can dress themselves or toys.

I find giving them a baby doll or teddy to dress with some clothing helps develop this skill.

7. Stringing beads, pasta, ect

Another activity he did not enjoy but really important for both his fine motor and hand eye co- ordination.

By 18 months he was able to thread big beads without help but we started from 12 months of age with pasta on string.

8. Painting

I love painting so my 5 month old painted each time I did. He often just moved the brush tightly gripped in his hand but I kept adding paint.

At about 8 months he learnt to dip the brush into the paint. Finger painting and letting baby use their hands instead of a brush are just as rewarding.

If you are worried about the paint being toxic in anyway or staining baby’s clothing mix a jelly powder with a plain yoghurt for a natural non staining paint.

Painting with food colour8ng on ice is also a lovely activity for little ones.

9.Sewing cards

I only introduced these after Hamish was able to thread beads so that he wasn’t frustrated.

You can make your own by cutting an image from card and punching holes around it.

10. Building blocks

Hamish loves his blocks and I first introduced soft foam blocks at about 5 months . From 6 months he was stacking and transferring from hand to hand his wooden blocks.

I bought inexpensive blocks from The crazy store.

There are so many more activities but these 10 are activities we come back to often .

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