Fine Motor is FUN!

 

Did you know that students spend between 37.1% and 60.2% of the school day performing fine motor activities? These activities include handwriting, zipping a jacket for recess, gathering items such as pencils, and using a fork to feed themselves at lunch. As a result, increasing fine motor skills can greatly impact a student’s independence in school. 

 

Handwriting is an extremely important occupation for most students. Fine motor precision and in-hand manipulation skills are factors that influence handwriting legibility. The best part of school-based occupational therapy is that we can have FUN working on the skills that the student needs to be successful in the classroom. Play-doh? Working on finger and thumb strength! Playing Connect 4? Working on in-hand translation! Lite-Brite? Working on the separation of the two sides of the hand and a pincer grasp! 


The possibilities are truly endless when it comes to implementing fun fine motor activities in school-based therapy. And I’m sure as most of you know, when the students are having fun, they end up making the most progress! 

 

How to Create a FUN Fine-Motor Kit

I have found it to be extremely helpful to keep a “fine-motor kit’ with me at all times so that I know I will always have items to work on fine motor skills if I need them. This is especially the case when I am covering multiple schools and need to transfer equipment back and forth! I have also found this helpful for days when I am extremely busy and have less time to prepare for the therapy session.

 

Fine-Motor Kit:

  • Play-Doh/Putty 
  • Nuts/Bolts
  • Legos/Building Blocks
  • Tongs/Poms
  • Beads/Pipe Cleaners/String
  • Wind-Up Toy
  • Tennis ball monster


These items have been helpful for students of all ages and abilities, as you can easily mix and match the items as well as grade up or down tasks as needed. For example, a student that is working on more basic skills might work on the simple task of connecting blocks together, while a student that is working on higher-level skills might connect the blocks together so that they form an uppercase letter. Be creative with it! And remember, occupational therapists help put the FUN in FUNctional

 

Author: Natalie Zanella, MOT, OTR/L

 

References:

https://research.aota.org/ajot/article/74/2/7402345010p1/6677/Fine-Motor-Activities-in-Elementary-School

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5851374/

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Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog is for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as professional advice. The content is based on the author's personal experiences, research, and opinions. It is always recommended to consult with a qualified professional or expert before making any decisions or taking action based on the information provided in this blog.

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