Fine motor skills involve the ability to coordinate the smaller muscles of the hands. For OT purposes, we look at fine motor skills as they relate to functional tasks that our clients need or want to do in their daily lives. Our fine motor skills are closely related to our visual motor skills. Visual motor skills (or visual motor integration) is our ability to interpret visual information, and respond with a correct motor plan. You can see why these systems are so closely linked! We utilize the visual motor system when performing fine motor tasks to ensure we are responding with a correct and efficient motor plan.
One fun way to work on both fine motor and visual motor integration is this winter-themed penguin activity. Take a small box, and using a knife cut out a 1 ½ inch square in the center. Your child can decorate the box however they like (you can see we chose a penguin theme). The hole will be how we feed the “penguin”.
Once you have your box, gather the following items:
- Cheerios (or other small food item)
- Paper or white board
- Marker (something to write with)
To set-up, take your paper or white board and write out the numbers 1-6. If your child is working on recognizing numbers via dice, you can draw out the dots instead of writing the numbers. Then, with your child’s help, come up with ways that they can travel to the box. Some examples can include “jumping” , “hopping on one foot” , “crawling”, “spinning”, “under the table”, “through a tunnel” etc. etc. Set up your box on on end of the room, and your spoons and cheerios on the other.
Now for the fun part. When it is your turn, roll the dice. Pick up a cheerio and place it on the spoon. You must travel to the box based on what number popped up on the dice. When you get to the box, it is time to “feed the penguin!”
This activity is so much fun, and works on a number of important foundational skills. This activity addresses turn taking, number recognition, gross motor movements, fine motor skills, and visual motor integration. You can get creative and instead of spoons try other fine motor tools like tongs, tweezers or chop sticks.
If you try it out, send a photo to me via: TaylorJohnsonTherapy@gmail.com to be featured on our facebook page.