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What can info to help my nearly 4 year old's fine motor skills?

(19 Posts)
SleepFreeZone Thu 15-Sep-16 06:24:14

He has zero interest in drawing, will hold a spoon and occasionally a fork but nothing else. His preschool has flagged it as a problem as he will be starting reception next year and i believe he should start being able to write his name 😁

They initially thought he may have SEN as he had speech delay and has generally been behind his peers in most things. However he has now mainly caught up but has no focus when it comes to drawing/painting and writing. He loves books, I read to him everyday and he has new library books every week

SleepFreeZone Thu 15-Sep-16 06:25:15

Sorry for title typo!! Should read 'what can I do ....?'

BellaGoth Thu 15-Sep-16 06:27:05


My DS has zero interest in writing and drawing too but his fine motor skills have come on amazingly since he got into lego. Keeps him quiet for hours, too! grin

SleepFreeZone Thu 15-Sep-16 06:28:25

Nice. He has no Lego! Am ongoing to havens nightmare with the baby and small pieces though/choke risk?

SleepFreeZone Thu 15-Sep-16 06:29:45

Argh writing whilst nursing the baby is not working for me.

Am I going to have a nightmare with small pieces that should have said.

schmalex Thu 15-Sep-16 06:32:33

You could get Duplo - it's not as fiddly but at least the baby won't choke!
Also try threading games, using tongs/tweezers to put dried pasta in a bowl.
My son didn't like drawing/writing but was quite keen on dot-to-dot.

Brontebiscuits Thu 15-Sep-16 06:35:05

This might have some ideas in it. Don't let the focus become about him being able to write his name before school, just let him build fine motor skills as that's the important thing.

Believeitornot Thu 15-Sep-16 06:37:09

Playdoh! Plus you can get toddler scissors

We also had Lego from the age of 3 (ds showed no interest in duplo). We also had a 1 year old. We basically just closely monitored them when the Lego came out and made sure it was all tidied away at the end of the day.

insancerre Thu 15-Sep-16 06:38:21

Find a new preschool

They are giving you duff information and obviously don't have a clue

I'm an early years professional with a postgraduate qualification in child development, so I do have some experience
The children in our nursery have lots of opportunities for developing fine motor skills without being made to sit and hold pencils and write their names. That's a surefire way to put them off and develop bad habits.
Our children are busy climbing trees, using the trapeze swing, pouring water, chalking on the floor, building with duplo, Lego, using play dough, painting, etc. All of these activities develop large muscles and then the smaller muscles for when the child is ready to start writing

At this age its about mark making, not writing. Especially boys who need more physical play.

Not being able to write your name at 3 is not an indication of sen

BellaGoth Thu 15-Sep-16 06:39:43

I'm planning to move DS's small / fiddly toys like lego and playmobil to his room when his sister becomes mobile, DS should be just about 4 then. Duplo will stay in the living room. It's a pain with younger siblings but DS still needs age appropriate toys so I'm just going to have to be strict on where the lego is!

LostInMess Thu 15-Sep-16 06:43:10

I got told play-doh and Kneading (making bread etc) to help my DS prep for starting reception last week. Teacher was very unphased about him not holding a pencil properly as yet. Mind, I asked her merely as I hadn't done much to prep DS for school. My older two girls were both at different stages when they started, it all levels out eventually. Teacher was more concerned about them being able to put clothes on and go to the loo alone, everything else they will deal with.

Lego is helpful though. Having successfully managed to keep away from it until DS1 was 2, it's all over the house thanks to the girls. DS2 is one and very interested - we keep lots of doors shut!!

lostscot Thu 15-Sep-16 06:44:45

Little wind up toys might help too.

Poocatcherchampion Thu 15-Sep-16 06:45:29

Hama beads? There are bigger ones to start off.

I make my 3&4 y do them at the table and they pic up any dropped ones straight away so I don't have hamam shaped baby poo

Ditsy4 Thu 15-Sep-16 06:48:29

Sit him at the table with it in a big tray then.

Lots of physical play first forget about the writing for now. Buy a plastic, shallow tray and make some goop. A box of cornflour, water, food colouring. Slowly mix the water in until it forms a thick paste (Recipe will be on Internet or ask nursery) t shirt on and let him play with it. It will keep for about a week and if it dries up you just add some more water. It should be the consistency of pouring custard.get him to write patterns in( later on you can do his name) and lift and let it run through his fingers. It is fascinating.
Painting.thick paint with a large brush or fingerpainting.
Weaving, a small peg loom.
Beeswax: you can buy it on the Internet from Steiner supplies. Steiner schools have it to strength fingers before writing. It comes in blocks. Initially you put in on a saucer and warm it up near a radiator or in the sun for a bit till it softens but doesn't melt. Then he can mould it to any shape. It is better than play dough. As the fingers get stronger you soften less and let him do it with his hands. It smells lovely and you can get different colours. It keeps for about a year as you can re model it.
Chunky crayons for drawing then you can get chunky triangular pencils. We use them at school as they help with position. Start to encourage him not to hold it in his fist. F

Ditsy4 Thu 15-Sep-16 06:50:52

Finger play in paint it should have said.
Water play with sponges. Squeezing.

SleepFreeZone Thu 15-Sep-16 09:30:07

Thank you, I feel relieved at all the suggestions as he is great at a lot of them. He threads beads like a pro, loves play doh and I make it for him, helps his dad do all sorts of 'fixing stuff' so can pick up small things like screws, nails etc. I think I have got a bit fixated on the lack of pen work, not really his pre school. I am now hypersensitive I think and am worried he will start school and be the only one who can't write his name.

Ditsy4 Thu 15-Sep-16 22:23:43

No, don't worry I' m sure he won't.
In our nursery they focus on it in the summer term so he has plenty of time.sounds like he is doing well.
Lots of drawing activities first.

mrz Sat 22-Oct-16 16:34:21

Things to remember:
Upright working surfaces promote fine motor skills. Examples of these are: vertical
chalkboards; easels for painting; flannel boards; lite bright; magnet boards (or
fridge); windows and mirrors; white boards, etc. Children can also make sticker
pictures; do rubber ink-stamping; use reuseable stickers to make pictures; complete
puzzles with thick knobs; use magna-doodle and etch-a-sketch as well. The benefits
for these include: having the child's wrist positioned to develop good thumb
movements; they help develop good fine motor muscles; the child is using the arm
and shoulder muscles.
Fine Motor Activities
Moulding and rolling play dough into balls - using the palms of the
hands facing each other and with fingers curled slightly towards the palm.
Rolling play dough into tiny balls (peas) using only the finger tips.
Using pegs or toothpicks to make designs in play dough.
Cutting play dough with a plastic knife or with a pizza wheel by holding
the implement in a diagonal volar grasp.
Tearing newspaper into strips and then crumpling them into balls. Use
to stuff scarecrow or other art creation.
Scrunching up 1 sheet of newspaper in one hand. This is a super
strength builder.
Using a plant sprayer to spray plants, (indoors, outdoors) to spray snow
(mix food colouring with water so that the snow can be painted), or melt
"monsters". (Draw monster pictures with markers and the colours will run
when sprayed.)
Picking up objects using large tweezers such as those found in the
"Bedbugs" game. This can be adapted by picking up Cheerios, small cubes,
small marshmallows, pennies, etc., in counting games.
Shaking dice by cupping the hands together, forming an empty air space
between the palms.
Using small-sized screwdrivers like those found in an erector set.
Lacing and sewing activities such as stringing beads, Cheerios,
macaroni, etc.
Using eye droppers to "pick up" coloured water for colour mixing or
to make artistic designs on paper.
Rolling small balls out of tissue paper, then gluing the balls onto
construction paper to form pictures or designs.
Turning over cards, coins, checkers, or buttons, without bringing them to
the edge of the table.
Making pictures using stickers or self-sticking paper reinforcements.
Playing games with the "puppet fingers" -the thumb, index, and middle
fingers. At circle time have each child's puppet fingers tell about what
happened over the weekend, or use them in songs and finger plays.
Place a variety of forms (eg. blocks, felt, paper, string, yarn, cereal,
cotton) on outlines
Match shapes, colour, or pictures to a page and paste them within the
Self-Care Skills
Fastening Snaps
Using a screwdriver
Locking and unlocking a door
Winding a clock
Opening and closing jars
Rolling out dough or other simple cooking activities
Washing plastic dishes
Sweeping the floor
Scissor Activities
When scissors are held correctly, and when they fit a child's hand well, cutting
activities will exercise the very same muscles which are needed to manipulate a pencil
in a mature tripod grasp. The correct scissor position is with the thumb and middle
finger in the handles of the scissors, the index finger on the outside of the handle to
stabilize, with fingers four and five curled into the palm.
Cutting junk mail, particularly the kind of paper used in magazine
subscription cards.
Making fringe on the edge of a piece of construction paper.
Cutting play dough or clay with scissors.
Cutting straws or shredded paper.
Use a thick black line to guide cutting the following:
A fringe from a piece of paper
Cut off corners of a piece of paper
Cut along curved lines
Cut lines with a variety of angles
Cut figures with curves and angles
Sensory Activities
The following activities ought to be done frequently to increase postural muscle
strength and endurance. These activities also strengthen the child's awareness of
his/her hands.
Wheelbarrow walking, crab walking
Clapping games (loud/quiet, on knees together, etc.)
Catching (clapping) bubbles between hands
Pulling off pieces of thera-putty with individual fingers and thumb
Drawing in a tactile medium such as wet sand, salt, rice, or "goop".
Make "goop" by adding water to cornstarch until you have a mixture similar
in consistency to toothpaste. The "drag" of this mixture provides feedback to
the muscle and joint receptors, thus facilitating visual motor control.
Picking out small objects like pegs, beads, coins, etc., from a tray of salt,
sand, rice, or putty. Try it with eyes closed too. This helps develop sensory
awareness in the hands.

TheFutures Fri 28-Oct-16 09:25:59

Mums lets not worry as it's all a challenge but interesting journey.
I would like to share with you the research I was carrying out with children in primary and infants.
From my research it was clear that the physical abilities and develop of children were not as strong as other areas. I believed that in nursery settings more activities need to be set to encourage physical development in building with lego to using paint brushes, and riding scooters to build strong muscles.
Everything we do for our babies and children now will benefit the future therefore we must be careful what we teach our babies as paradigms can be hard to break in the future.
Activity examples:
Painting, drawing around shapes, balancing on blocks, building with lego sticker bricks, riding a bike, climbing on climbing frames, swimming, dressing up, playdough.
One last thing I would like to suggest is building your child's self confidence is so important therefore even if us as parents are unable to cope with leaving our children at nursery or school we need to be a good role model and show that it is ok to be apart and do things independently, if parents are hanging around at nurseries waiting for their child to settle, you are only showing your child that you are too unsure,making the child also feel unease with the new routine.
Hope this helps I am a nursery nurse love my job and have a lot of experience so am happy to help if I can.

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