Fine motor skills can be defined as those small muscle movements that occur in the finger, in coordination with the eyes. Teaching fine motor skills is similar to teaching other skills namely because the instructor must always try to be patient and understanding. It is important to keep in mind that fine motor skills will not develop overnight, but with time and practice. There are numerous ways to help your child develop motor skills but one of the most popular with adults and children is coloring. Coloring seems to be the universally popular choice with kids since they love the creativity of color and many adults remember never getting over their love of crayons! While just coloring can be fun (and done together) it is just one of the many ways you help your child develop motor skills. Here are some ideas on how to help your child develop motor skills with coloring-
· Coloring-One of the keys to coloring is to help your child maintain the proper grip. You want your child’s wrist to remain vertical to the paper with a good pincer grip. Do not be discouraged if they do not get this right away-they will over time! Here are some ideas to get you started:
Coloring improves fine motor skills in your child.
1. Tape up large sheets of paper to a wall. Kids love the idea of having permission to “color” on the walls. You can even take this a step further and try the bottom of a table or a door since kids will love coloring in different places.
2. Use a white board. Some kids are hesitant about coloring because of the permanency of it. With a white board they can wipe off and try again and again. Also the ease of the markers can also convince some kids (especially boys) to give it a try! White boards come in a variety of sizes from lap-held to large ones that can be mounted on a wall.
3. Think outside! Today the art aisle of your local store will have chalk, paint and even crayons that can be done on the sidewalk. Best of all these can all be washed away if you want to after your kids are through. (Though you may find the outside masterpieces worth keeping for awhile). Many kids will try coloring with these due in part to the fact that they can be outside.
4. Use other things to color with. While crayons always have their place you may find that your budding artist/writer will lose interest. Consider giving finger-painting a try (there are recipes for edible finger paint) paints (with a variety of tools to paint with like: Q-tips, craft sticks and a variety of different size brushes) and don’t forget the old standby of colored pencils and markers (both which now come in washable varieties).
5. Tracing can help too. If your child complains that they cannot think of anything to draw consider setting up a tracing activity. There are many stencils that can be found online or you can make your own. Start with simple shapes that can be traced with a thick black line. As your child’s motor skills develop you can move on to tracing paper put over more complicated pictures. After they finish tracing have them color in their masterpiece.
6. Stamping help too! While stamping may not technically be coloring this can help especially young children who are working on the most basic of motor skills. While there are numerous kinds of stamps to try you can also make your own. Cutting potatoes and other hard vegetables into shapes can be imaginative stamps that will inspire your budding artist/writer.
7. Internet coloring pages. The Internet is chock-full of coloring page choices that your children can print and color. Some can be colored online and then printed out, as well. Try Free Kids Coloring for a huge collection of coloring pages in several categories. Crayons Rule!