Fine motor skills are basically the small movements made with the hands, so like you say, holding a pen, using cutlery, threading... those kinds of things. I have a booklet with activities you can do to help the development of fine motor skills so if you would like me to send it to you, let me know your email address and I will do so
Lazylou, that's really kind - I've had a google this morning and found a few tips online, as well. The odd thing is that he is great at doing complex, tiny stuff when he is into it - like building brilliant Bionicle figures etc, and drawing really small things - but when it is about writing, he isn't interested. I wonder if this is all they are on about, because from where I am I can only see a boy who applies himself well if he wants to, and can't be bothered with the stuff he sees as boring.
Thanks for all the answers, at least I have a better idea what they mean now!
It is the mechanics of things like colouring , holding a pencil consistently and correctly with even control and size writing, writing and drawing with even pressure, using scissors, pincer grip to select and move things around like pegs, craft or game pieces.
Activities such as clay modelling, playdough/pastry rolling, poking and pinching, crafts, chalks and painting, using fingers independently to write in wet sand or flour, or touching each finger to thumb in turn starting with index and back again, finger Twister might help ! As to writing practice try using a sloping surface adn make sure he sits correctly with feet flat on the floor - he may find it less tiring.
My ds had some OT because his handwriting didn't seem to be improving. He had to do lots of the above as well as strengthen his neck muscles as he used to rest his head on the desk or his hand. Lots of 'wheelbarrows' - where you hold their feet and they walk around on their arms. Walking backwards in a crab, tummy facing the ceiling and only hands and feet on the floor.
Another thing he liked was popping bubble wrap only using index finger and thumb and hiding marbles in playdough/plasticine and they have to find them all.
Also ripping card into small pieces and rolling tissue paper into small pieces using thumb and index finger.
To actually target his handwriting, she suggested using paper with small squares on (about half cm sqs) and putting one letter in each square. This helps to keep them all same size.
We concentrated on lots of these things during the last summer hols and his writing is sooo much better a year on. He even got the 'handwriting award' at the end of this term(wipe away tear emoticon for proud mum)