Wouldn’t it be great to give your child some fun Christmas toys knowing you are supporting their fine motor development at the same time?
Specifically in this article I’m focusing on toys and games that support young hands to develop – to practice the actions they need in order to do important tasks like hold a pencil or use a pair of scissors.
Feel inspired reading about some ideas for this festive season below!
Magnetic- based products have more recently flooded the market with popular kits like Magnatiles and Neoformers. Magnetic wand and horseshoe play is a great way for kids to coordinate their hands and fingers while they investigate items that attract and repel.
Your refrigerator can become a fun play platform for magnet play. Items around the house like cut up pipe cleaners, keys, tiny cars or paperclips are perfect additions to your magnet kit.
Enjoy the sensory benefits of retrieving magnetic items out of sand or beans which is also good for kids who are learning to tolerate different textures.
Tongs and tweezers are fantastic for strengthening hands and fingers and for developing hand/eye co-ordination.
They can be bought individually from science and educational stores. Kitchen tongs are an affordable option too. Use tongs or tweezers to sort and post small items from 2 dollar stores like beads, pom poms, tiny dinosaurs or even mm’s into jars and ice trays or egg cartons.
One of my favourite tweezer games is Giggle Wiggle. Find it at variety stores like Kmart and Target. It has the added benefit of being a cooperative game where waiting and turn-taking can be practiced.
These handy scoopers below are also very popular – they place the fingers in the correct scissor position and are ideal for scooping marbles, pom poms or pretending to catch bubbles.
Re-usable suction-based toys are perfect for coordinating the small muscles of the hand as they require the fingers to pinch and pull and push.
Stimulate the senses and challenge motor planning skills for hours of open-ended construction. A great pushing and pulling activity with a reinforcing, POP!
Why not add a little ‘fine motor extension’ to a doll set or dinosaur toy you plan on gifting your child.
For example, consider adding some string and a bag of pegs to a Bratz or baby doll gift set. When your child is ready to ‘wash the clothes’, put up a little clothesline in the house and practice pegging up little clothes to dry.
For an animal gift set (for e.g. T-Rex or Unicorn) add some ‘food’ in the form of coloured pom poms or plastic crystals to their toy. Yes unicorns love crystals! Include sorting trays or little containers too for sorting colours, sizes or shapes for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Gift wrap a Transformer, plush animal, action figure or Beyblade set in a larger brown box with a pack of colouring pens or coloured Washi tape. Decorate the box and create a hospital, fire station, home or battle station for your toy!
Have a wonderful holiday season and I hope you picked up some ideas you can work with, here.
Ellena, OT and Owner