Motor skills are important.
We need them to be able to do so many things.
This isn't just done by using a pencil and paper. In fact, pencil and paper may be the last step in a long line of activities children need in order to build the muscles needed for writing.
The last thing we want to be doing with 3-5 year olds is to sit down with pencils and worksheets. How boring, painful and developmentally inappropriate for many children. Think about writing a long letter with your non-dominant hand, this is similar to how it feels when children are not yet ready to write.
We start with gross motor skills, the big muscles. Those have to be developed first before we can even think about the ability to write! So we run, jump, hop, skip, climb, paint with big brushes, shovel buckets of sand, pull a wagon, ride a trike and do lots of other movement activities (to name a few).
For fine motor skills, those small muscles, we do lots and lots of open-ended creative art, math and manipulative activities, puzzles, play-dough and clay, sorting, dressing, eating, and so-on...
Building Fine Motor Skills:
|In order to have the ability to write, we first need strong gross motor skills. Children need more outdoor time, building muscle strength!|
|Even big kids need to climb!|
Once they have had enough outdoor time, they can settle into an art exploration, using 'real' materials. Nothing better for fine motor development than letting children explore and encourage their creativity to flow (and building cognitive skills too)...
Some open-ended question you can ask during the art exploration:
Tell me about your picture.
Look at how you have made those colours mix together. How did you do that?
How does your picture make you feel?
And remember, it's the process that is important-not the product!
Creative Art Activities Promote Development: