Easter will be here before we know it! There are a number of Easter activities you can do with your children to help them develop their fine motor skills.
The fine motor skills of today’s children are not where they once were, and educators see the effects in their classrooms when children have difficulty learning how to print, hold a pencil or use scissors. There are several things you can do at home with your children to help develop the muscles they need in their fingers, hands and wrists.
Easter Egg Hunts
Carrying around a basket and picking up Easter treats is a great way to work on both fine motor and gross motor skills. The plastic fillable Easter eggs are a great way to extend the fun. My kids love doing hunts, so even once Easter is over I will often fill the Easter Eggs with berries or cereal and hide them over and over again. With little hands, opening and closing the plastic Easter eggs requires the use of both hands. There are also several ways you can make use of the eggs for sorting coloured beads or pom poms and stacking them.
I think there is something so special about receiving a bouquet of flowers a child you know has picked for you. It is a reminder of how much you mean to them. It also makes muscles in their fingers, hands, wrists, and forearms work together as they pinch the stem of the flower before pulling and twisting it free. They have to transfer it to their other hand and hold it with the other flowers as they build their arrangement for you.
Eating Easter Candy
Yes, you read that right! I am encouraging you to let your kids eat Easter candy. Small candies such as jelly beans and mini chocolate eggs allow them to use a pincer grasp to pick up the candy between their thumb and pointer finger. If you sit down at the table and put one candy in front of them at a time, you can ensure they pick the candy up correctly instead of just grabbing a fist full and putting it into their mouth.
Small foil wrapped eggs are great because they have to unwrap the eggs before they can eat it. They will have to hold the egg in one hand while using their fingers on the other to pinch and peel off the foil. So please don’t peel foil wrapped Easter eggs for your child.
Brushing their teeth after they eat the candy also helps with fine motor skill development too! You can always say it is just part of the exercise.
Baking is an enjoyable activity to do with your children to help with fine motor skills. All the measuring, pouring, whisking, mixing, and kneading requires the use of several different muscles in the hands, fingers, wrists and forearms. I know it can be very tempting to use a stand mixer or electric mixer, so your arms don’t get too tired, but remember, we are trying to work on developing those very muscles that are getting tired.
My family has a tradition of making a bunny cake every year that is covered in icing and candy. Making a cake, the icing and decorating it can be a fun family activity that uses many muscles in with the different movements. Spreading the icing with a knife or using an icing bag are both great ways to use different muscles in your hand. Picking up the different candies and placing them in the perfect spot on the cake will require using a pincer grasp and work on hand-eye coordination.
Arts & Crafts
There are so many wonderful Easter Arts and Craft project ideas on places like Pinterest to do at home with your family. We have tried a few of these at our house, and they have been great hits.
This Marshmallow Easter Bunny from No Time for Flash Cards is an adorable Easter craft with very minimal materials and set up. If you have older kids, they can do this task independently by tracing the Easter Bunny head on the construction paper themselves and squeezing the glue along the line for the marshmallows. These are both great exercises for muscles in the hand. While younger kids may just be able to pinch the marshmallows with their pincer grasp and put them into place on the glue line. This activity is a creative way to use up any stale mini marshmallows left over from the hot chocolate season.
This activity from Fireflies and Mudpies provides an opportunity to use your wrist while wrapping the wool around the egg. Picking up beads of different sizes allows the opportunity to practice using the pincer grasp and working the small muscles in the hands and fingers. Threading the beads onto the yarn provides an opportunity for in-hand manipulation of the beads and the yarn.
This craft from The Best Ideas for Kids is great for preschoolers because you can have the bunny faces precut and then have the kids pinch the cotton balls to dip them in glue and apply them to the paper.
Potato stamp painting is lots of fun. Using a paintbrush to paint the colours on the potato is an excellent way to work on the pincer grasp. To stamp the potato, they will use their whole hand to pick it up to stamp. After the paint has dried, you can always add to the decorations with some glitter or glitter glue.