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Child Development always takes place. When they are playing, while eating, listening to parents or music, talking, even while sleeping. At home, the kind of toys we buy and the types of play activities we involve them into play major part in their overall mental and behavioral development.
Importance of FINE MOTOR SKILLS in Toddlers:
Fine motor skills involve development of the smaller muscles in tiny hands. By developing these muscles at young age, children will be able to perform everyday tasks like buttoning, cutting, writing, drawing, beading etc.
Few activities that will enhance fine & gross motor and cognitive skills are:
Making Towers: Basically piling up anything requires hand-eye coordination and sense of balancing. Any type of edible or non-edible items can be used for making towers. Like stacking cups, blocks, boxes, or edible items like fruit loops in a straw or biscuits (of course might be messy but messy is good, will explain HOW below)
Straw & Pipe Cleaner Insertion: Just make holes in a cardboard box or thick cardboard sheet, or even a strainer will do the work. The fine motor skills will improve a lot when they focus on putting a thin straw through the hole.
Pasta Threading Activity: Excellent way to practice threading with a toddler. A thick thread is better which won’t hurt soft tiny hands. Pasta or big beads or even blocks with holes can be used.
CAUTION: “Adult supervision is required at all times, especially if given small parts,as they cause chocking hazard.”
Q-tip Coloring & Straws: Coloring on a sheet with a-tips or cotton buds is great way to enhance focus, hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. Just give them some color on a plate and ask to dip q-tip in it and stamp on paper. One more way is cut straw pieces into smaller pieces than a-tips and ask them to put q-tip inside the straw pieces.
Sensory Play- One of the most engaging activity that toddlers and kids love is Sensory Play. Take a big box, put some grains or pulses or beans or sand in it, keep little toys like animals, trucks etc. Sensory Boxes can be theme based like farm, sea, construction, etc. Colored rice or pasta can also be used. Play Dough, Slime, Kinetic Sand, water beads, are also useful for enhancing sensory skills and also give scope for more creativity.
TIP: No need to waste food items, feed them to birds.
Block Patterns: Stack a few blocks and ask the child to make a similar pattern of blocks following shape, size and colors. This will improve their cognitive and problem solving skills majorly.
Picking pom poms with Clothes pin or Tweezers: Draw a caterpillar or rainbow, alphabets or just colorful circles and ask the child to place matching colored Pom poms on the pattern by picking them up with tweezers or clothes pin. This will greatly improve grip and hand-eye coordination along with fine motor skills.
Matching shapes: Cut circle, square shapes out of cardboard or foam sheet and let them learn to match the shapes.
Walk on Tape: Simply stick tape on floor and ask the child to walk on the tape balancing their body.
Sensory Bottle: Add water and oil in a clear plastic bottle. Pour in some glitters, glitter glue, stars or moon and enjoy the settling of glitters in Galaxy Sensory Bottle. Or just put in colorful ribbons, beads, small toys, google eyes, Pom poms or practically anything colorful that can go inside the bottle. Kids will enjoy sounds of this bottle and colorful objects in it.
Benefits of Developmental Activities:
The sense of achievement while performing such interesting activities motivates them to challenge themselves and enhance more skill development. Bonus they get busy for some time while moms can cook or have tea in peace.