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can your 4 and half year old ds do this??

(25 Posts)
ki28 Wed 04-Nov-09 10:45:03

morning, i just have a few questions reguarding motor skills in boys.

My ds is 5 in march and the school has concerns bout the following

- unable to copy name and draw a line within two lines ans stay in the lines.

-trouble using scissors.

-thread a large button onto cotton.

-that his grip is light.

- and that his grasp is still whole handed untill reminded that it needs to be other way.

-does hold the paper with other hand when drawing or writing.


StrikeUpTheBand Wed 04-Nov-09 11:00:36


I don't have a 4-yr old but I teach reception, so can tell you what my class could do (on average). It sounds like your DS just needs to develop his fine motor skills.

- copy name and draw a line within two lines and stay in the lines.

At the beginning of the year about half of the children could write their name. Tracing between the lines - there were about a handful in a class of 30 who struggled.

-trouble using scissors.

This is something we develop over the year. SOme children have good skills from September, but most need to develop this skill over the year. A few when given simple cutting tasks will end up with confetti!

-thread a large button onto cotton.

Again, a handful of children really need lots of reinforcement with this. It will get better with repetition.

-that his grip is light.

- and that his grasp is still whole handed until reminded that it needs to be other way.

Weak grip is another sign of less developed fine motor control. It will improve when the motor control improves

-does hold the paper with other hand when drawing or writing.

Sorry, is that 'does' or 'doesn't'?

It sounds like your DS needs lots of opportunity to develop these skills (threading beads, making patterns on plates with coloured pegs, fishing game, putting elastic bands onto a pringles jar, anything involving pincer grip should help). Triangular pencils or rubber grips on a normal pencil should help him to hold it better. There are lots of ways that the school can be helping your son to improve.

Hope this is helpful to you.

canihaveapeeinpeacepleasebob Wed 04-Nov-09 11:01:56

I don't know if this helps.
My ds is nearly four and is able to do all of those things.

Deadworm Wed 04-Nov-09 11:09:52

My DS 1 had these sorts of difficulty at that age, made worse by being an August-born child. I just want to reassure you that he caught up in the end, and by the time it came to learning joined-up writing he was no longer behind.

Things like tying shoelaces were also hard for him, and at 14 I would say that he is not adept at activitles requiring fine-motor skills -- art, design technology, etc are all things that he dislikes. But he does absolutely fine.

frasersmummy Wed 04-Nov-09 11:10:52

my son is 4.5 and cant copy his name yet, he can use scissors, and I am not sure about the staying in the lines thing.

I think there is a bit more pressure in England because formal education starts early in reception

we are in Scotland and my son wont go to school till he is 5.5 by which time he should be able to copy his name

redskyatnight Wed 04-Nov-09 11:12:41

My DS is now in Year 1 but he was not able to do any of those things until Christmas of his Reception year (May birthday). his school targetted fine motor skills as an area for improvement and he did regular work in a group doing "fun" activities to improve these.

By the end of Reception his fine motor skills had much improved and he was (for example) able to form all his letters correctly and write simple sentences).

So I would say not to worry, but know that is hard especially when you are faced with (mainly autumn birthday girls) others who are very capable.

mussyhillmum Wed 04-Nov-09 12:15:27

My son was unable to do these things until the summer after Reception when he was 5 and a bit (May birthday). We were very worried - told by teacher he would be put in "remedial" classes in Y1 etc. He is now in year 3 and in all the top groups. However, he still hates writing and I do wonder if it is because of the pressure he was under in Reception. My DD(just 5) is in Recpetion with a different teacher. She is unable to write her name or form many letters compared to other girls in her class, but I'm keeping the faith that it will come. Her teacher is very relaxed about it.

If your son has a light grip, you might want to get him a battery operated pen. When you switch the pen on it shudders and shakes so that you have to grip it harder. Hama beads are good for the pincer grip. There is a larger size Hama bead for little hands. You might also want to get him to make some necklaces with cheap beads/ pasta as presents.

mrz Wed 04-Nov-09 19:33:10

I'm a reception teacher and I don't want any of my class to be able to copy their name ...I want them to know/learn how to write it correctly without copying.
Scissor skills vary a great deal
threading I would expect most children to manage easily
grip - indicates we shouldn't be expecting him to copy or write and should be concentrating on strengthening his fingers/wrist/shoulders.

ki28 Wed 04-Nov-09 20:47:30

hi and thanks for your replies.

MumNWLondon Thu 05-Nov-09 14:37:52

DD birthday in October and could do all that plus a lot more when she started reception aged nearly 5 (eg copy any letters or numbers, colour in very neatly, thread tiny beads, cut neatly around shape etc).

Infact she could do almost all that when she started the nursery attached to the school aged nearly 4. She could write (off by heart, not copy) her name by 3rd birthday.

But DS's birthday in May and I doubt he will be able to do any of those things when he starts reception next year.

Reception teacher will be used to having a mixed class with some children esp younger boys who will need some extra support.

thatsnotmymonster Thu 05-Nov-09 14:47:16

ds is 4.5 and we are in Scotland so no one cares if he can do those things yet

But he can copy his name but it is usually very big and he always does letters back to front.

Think he is ok at using scissors

He has a good pencil grip

He does hold paper when he is drawing

He can draw a line through a maze- he doesn't always stay inside the lines but they are only about half a cm apart.

I think he can thread things because they do that at nursery.

He is left handed- don't know if that makes a difference!

fillybuster Thu 05-Nov-09 14:56:21

DS is just 4 (end August) and struggles with some of those things...although he has been writing his name for about a year, it tends to be very large and he has lousy 'fine' motor skills. The school seem quite relaxed about it and have invited him to a special 'play dough' club which (I think) is designed to built up muscles and skills.

He is now getting homework which requires him to write rows of repeated letters between set lines...last night was the first batch and he found it quite hard but did a reasonably good job. I think some of the problem is just learning to concentrate on colouring in, or writing, for an extended period.

My dd is 21 months and not walking - she's just been diagnosed as being massively hypermobile. As am I, and so is dh - and apparently its genetic. The specialist told me its likely that ds's issues holding a pen etc (which I also find very hard) are likely to be linked to him also being hypermobile. The good news is, it all balances out in time...I'm pretty sure that dd will walk (one day...) and that ds will catch up the 11 month age gap in his class over the next couple of years...

oneofakind Thu 05-Nov-09 18:50:21

sorry to hijack this thread but my ds also hypermobile fillybuster do you know much about this condition as my ds also late to walk, finding it difficult to grip a pencil etc. you can CAT me if you have time (although not sure how to do this!) many thanks

isittooearlyforgin Thu 05-Nov-09 19:00:36

little boys especially need help building up their fine motor skills and certainly at nursery they should be provided with plenty of fine motor skills and mark making activities before they ever touch a pen - things like suggested activities and making marks in tea leaves, mud, cornflour etc. If pushed too soon ( i mean before they are physically ready) to write it can disenchant a child, make them perceive themselves as failures and that school is not for them, and make thier wrists hurt.

lou031205 Thu 05-Nov-09 19:34:11

DD has SN and her OT said that they are desperately trying to teach schools that fine motor issues are best fixed by gross motor opportunities. If children get good gross motor skills, the fine motor skills sort themselves out. So lots of trike riding, etc.

cat64 Thu 05-Nov-09 19:54:47

Message withdrawn

kittywise Thu 05-Nov-09 19:59:32

if it's of any help my August born ds is now 11 and is finally catching up with everyone else.

He was very clumsy until recently and had very poor fine motor skills. He still finds it hard to tie his laces for instance. But now he's at secondary school he's suddenly flourished.

applepudding Thu 05-Nov-09 20:11:37

My DS would have found all of these things difficult in Reception, and in Y1 too. He didn't really get on top of a lot of things - fine motor skills, sounding out words, writing his letters the correct way round until the middle of Y2.

He is now in Y4 and still struggles with keeping his writing tidy and on the lines - but as he is ahead of national expectations in his reading and maths I'm not worrying and think he'll catch up eventually.

I think a lot of little boys are quite slow with this sort of thing, and the school is probably 'worrying' about these things too early.

I remember a poster on here about 6 months ago giving a lot of exercises you could do to improve fine motor skills in children. I'll look for it.

mrz Thu 05-Nov-09 20:19:17

As lou says gross motor function is equally important for children to develop as writers

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.

The joints of the body need to be stable before the hands can be free to focus on specific skilled fine motor tasks.
Wheelbarrow walking, crab walking, and wall push-ups.
Toys: Orbiter, silly putty, and monkey bars on the playground.

mrz Thu 05-Nov-09 20:20:22

Fine Motor Skills

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 outlines

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.

Midline Crossing
Establishment of hand dominance is still developing at this point. The following activities will facilitate midline crossing:
Encourage reaching across the body for materials with each hand. It may be necessary to engage the other hand in an activity to prevent switching hands at midline.
Refrain specifically from discouraging a child from using the left hand for any activity. Allow for the natural development of hand dominance by presenting activities at midline, and allowing the child to choose freely.
Start making the child aware of the left and right sides of his body through spontaneous comments like, "kick the ball with your right leg." Play imitation posture games like "Simon Says" with across the body movements.
When painting at easel, encourage the child to paint a continuous line across the entire paper- also from diagonal to diagonal.

Activities To Develop Handwriting Skills
There are significant prerequisites for printing skills that begin in infancy and continue to emerge through the preschool years. The following activities support and promote fine motor and visual motor development:
Body Stability
The joints of the body need to be stable before the hands can be free to focus on specific skilled fine motor tasks.
Wheelbarrow walking, crab walking, and wall push-ups.
Toys: Orbiter, silly putty, and monkey bars on the playground.

Fine Motor Skills
When a certain amount of body stability has developed, the hands and fingers begin to work on movements of dexterity and isolation as well as different kinds of grasps. Children will develop fine motor skills best when they work on a VERTICAL or near vertical surface as much as possible. In particular, the wrist must be in extension. (Bent back in the direction of the hand)
Attach a large piece of drawing paper to the wall. Have the child use a large marker and try the following exercises to develop visual motor skills:Make an outline of a one at a time. Have the child trace over your line from left to right, or from top to bottom. Trace each figure at least 10 times . Then have the child draw the figure next to your model several times.
Play connect the dots. Again make sure the child's strokes connect dots fromleft to right, and from top to bottom.
Trace around stencils - the non-dominant hand should hold the stencil flat and stable against the paper, while the dominant hand pushes the pencil firmly against the edge of the stencil. The stencil must be held firmly.
Attach a large piece of felt to the wall, or use a felt board. The child can use felt shapes to make pictures. Magnetic boards can be used the same way.
Have the child work on a chalkboard, using chalk instead of a marker. Do the same kinds of tracing and modeling activities as suggested above.
Paint at an easel. Some of the modeling activities as suggested above can be done at the easel.
Magna Doodle- turn it upside down so that the erasing lever is on the . Experiment making vertical, horizontal, and parallel lines.

Ocular Motor Control
This refers to the ability of the eyes to work together to follow and hold an object in the line of vision as needed.
Use a flashlight against the ceiling. Have the child lie on his/her back or tummy and visually follow the moving light from left to right, to bottom, and diagonally.
Find hidden pictures in books. (There are special books for this.)
Maze activities.

Eye-hand Coordination
This involves accuracy in placement, direction, and spatial awareness.
Throw bean bags/kooshi balls into a hula hoop placed flat on the floor. Gradually increase the distance.
Play throw and catch with a ball . Start with a large ball and work toward a smaller ball. (Kooshi balls are easier to catch than a tennis ball.)
Practice hitting bowling pins with a ball. (You can purchase these games or make your own with pop bottles and a small ball.)
Play "Hit the Balloon" with a medium-sized balloon.

applepudding Thu 05-Nov-09 20:24:36

mrz - it was your list I was thinking of!

Booyhoo Thu 05-Nov-09 20:30:46

emm, i hold paper when im writing and im alot older than four. is that wrong?

to answer OP my ds was 4 in july he can do those things, except the copy name. if you mean trace over the letters, then yes he can do that but if you mean write it on a separate piece of paper then no he cant.

Wags Thu 05-Nov-09 20:30:49

DS is 5 next April. He starts school in January. He is unable to copy his name at all. His name is 8 letters long. If you write it with lots of dots for him to join he will loose interest by the second letter. If I got him to copy it he would only do the first letter. Sorry, have no idea about drawing the line, may see if he can! But he can use scissors well, probably could manage the button and has quite a good pincer grip when holding a pencil. So mixed bag really.

ki28 Fri 06-Nov-09 08:12:25

morning, he does a lot of these things at home at home. He can colour inbetween the lines,we have made pasta neckalaces as presents for a while now and he can hold the piece of pasta in between his fingerspaint it and thread it. he also is practising to tie his shoe laces at the moment. So we will just keep pushing forwars with the xtra motor skills activies. he can trace most things,just tends to find it boring and wants to play football. We allocate time each day. And he is very good with play dough. Have just warned everyone we know to expect home made neckalaces and stuff for xmas!! thanks again for input very helpful. Its a bit strange cause at nursery he had no bother doing threading and writing number and was very good at his name (tracing) and painting with any size brush.x !!puzzling?!!

ki28 Fri 06-Nov-09 08:14:40

thanks for the list mrz,ill have read thfough it after school x

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