Fine Motor Skills for Young and Old

free image of marbles
@GardenGerty (102585)
United States
October 7, 2016 7:17pm CST
I just came from a discussion by @mom210 where we were sharing some ideas for fine motor skills for children. Someone else mentioned their elderly mom and many of the same ideas apply. People, kids or adults, do not want "therapy" or "treatment" they want meaningful tasks. I saw ideas about many of those, like sorting coins, or polishing silver. Great ideas. You can also get away with telling kids they are playing a game to get them to do some of the things So here we go: 1. Use tongs. Get plastic tongs. Serve veggies with them . Use them to put ice into glasses.. Small tongs about six to eight inches long. Also you can use them to pick up and manipulate small objects like those fun "eraser" toys. 2. Tiny scoops or ladles are fun to use. Transfer items from one dish to another. I have seen this done with "jewels" either acrylic aquarium stones or the glass decorative marbles. Could even do this with river rock or rounded stones. 3. Stirring up a recipe with mom or dad. It helps to set a bowl on a mat of shelf liner to hold it still, then stir up a storm. Make a batch of bread dough and have several of your kids help knead and form rolls. It is useful and meaningful work. If it is a family activity no one feels like they are being singled out to be "improved." 4. Cheerios or other similar shaped cereals as a snack. Picking them up one at a time is good for pincer skills. 5. A hardware busy board with things like a hasp style lock, or a barrel bolt lock. I may not have the right names, but a trip to a hardware store, or at my house out to the shed could get many opportunities to fiddle with stuff. Fasten down one side of a hinge so it can be flapped back and forth or make a little hinged door to open. Boys like that "manly" stuff, but so do girls. 6. Besides painting on a paper on the wall or on an easel we constructed "table desks" out of card board boxes. That is hard to explain. I probably should make one and take a picture. The idea is to cut one side of a fairly good sized box down so that the bottom is at about a forty five degree angle or slope. We would attach a clothes pin to hold the paper and then the kiddos used that to write or color or paint on. Using easels and slanted writing surfaces builds up the wrist muscles. 7. Open the lids on water bottles and refill them . You can freeze them for ice for coolers. 8. Have your child or older person help move cans around on the kitchen shelf and stack them or sort them. They get some input into their muscles that way. Okay, so I may have bored everyone completely to pieces with this, but I hope it is seen and helps someone. One of the sad things I learned is that often once a child reaches elementary school they are not funded for OT except in whatever way it is a problem for their education. So OT is basically to learn how to hold a pencil and write. I could also add that finger play games and rhymes are a great way to build fine motor skills as well as practicing simple sign language. Large puzzles too, and marble games. Stringing large beads on shoe laces or yarn. Sewing cards are easy to make for home with favorite pictures. I guess I could keep on writing.
11 people like this
8 responses
@JudyEv (134907)
• Bunbury, Australia
8 Oct 16
These are all great ideas. And you're right about elderly people needing meaningful tasks. My poor old Mum would get very bored and frustrated over having nothing to do. At the end (104) folding face-cloths was about all she could manage but she still liked to do that.
3 people like this
@GardenGerty (102585)
• United States
8 Oct 16
It is something soothing to do. I am glad that it was something she could do and feel occupied and useful both.
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (134907)
• Bunbury, Australia
8 Oct 16
@GardenGerty She hated to feel she wasn't of any use any more.
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@GardenGerty (102585)
• United States
8 Oct 16
@JudyEv One reason it was good for my sister to move to her own home was so that she would feel like there was something she needed to do and choices she could make.
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@sallypup (28583)
• Moses Lake, Washington
8 Oct 16
Wonderful ideas. ALL girls need to learn to use screwdrivers and hammers and other tools just like boys need to learn to at least cook in a rudimentary way. Some of these ideas also sneak in some science concepts and useful math.
2 people like this
@GardenGerty (102585)
• United States
8 Oct 16
My dad let me use hammer and screwdriver at five years old. Not well but I got to try at least. He was a boy with six sisters and they each took a day in the kitchen. When you are doing practical skills and even some fun skills you learn math and science and you get comfortable with numbers and such.
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@Jessicalynnt (47880)
• Centralia, Missouri
17 Oct 16
my gram crafts a ton to keep her hands and mind sharp
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@GardenGerty (102585)
• United States
18 Oct 16
Crafting gives a lot of personal satisfaction as well. Good for her!!
1 person likes this
• Centralia, Missouri
18 Oct 16
@GardenGerty and her tea towels are amazing, I use them till I put holes in the things, so am totally glad for her making more
@Marty1 (36177)
• Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
9 Oct 16
@GARDENGERTY I wasn't bored at all. I like things where I can learn. You had some great suggestions.
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@GardenGerty (102585)
• United States
9 Oct 16
Thanks. I am thinking I may need to do some of these things to make my wrists stronger again.
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@Marty1 (36177)
• Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
9 Oct 16
@GardenGerty i think you should try these good ideas. It would help your wrists a lot.
@mom210 (6771)
• Atlanta, Georgia
8 Oct 16
I never thought about it until now, but one valuable skill my other kids learned, was the pincer skill at a very early age with cheerios. But with Tiny not being an eater, he completely missed that skill because he has a feeding tube. It never dawned on me at all. I really like the hardware busy board, that is very do able for us. We love a trip to the hardware store anyway. The great thing about him having a twin and a brother only 16 months older than him, they jump right in and play with whatever he has, so he does not get singled out because here, everything is a crowd activity Great post thank you.
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@GardenGerty (102585)
• United States
9 Oct 16
I am glad you found my post. So Tiny still has the feeding tube--will he outgrow the need for it? I know one student I work with, due to being autistic and maybe family things used to only have pureed foods. He is nine now and chomps down regularly on anything he wants but they tell me it was a long road. Except he cannot have dairy. I believe Cheerios promotes itself as being good for development due to the shape.
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@mom210 (6771)
• Atlanta, Georgia
9 Oct 16
@GardenGerty I hope he will eventually give it up. The doctors really want us to get the button feeding tube, it would not be as visible. As far as I can tell on the what the Dr has said and my own research, it is more of a convenience than anything else. But there are more infection risks and a surgery involved. Because he has had so many surgeries already, I am not keen on another, even a minor one and one that seems unnecessary. I really think he will get rid of it eventually and I guess that is another reason I do not want to change. He is used to this one, it feels a little like giving up on him. We have pulled it out in hopes he would get really hungry and eat, but he doesn't and would starve without it. I have heard stories of older kids that used to have one and eventually get rid of it, so that gives me hope. I have to admit, I do get frustrated from time to time, and think geeze kid, just eat will ya?? But then, I remember how lucky I am just to have him here.
@sueznewz2 (10139)
• Alicante, Spain
9 Oct 16
Thanks these are some good ideas... it's important to keep up our motor skills and dexterity.... young and older...
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@GardenGerty (102585)
• United States
9 Oct 16
When we do not we have trouble fastening clothes, cutting our food, signing papers, etc.
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@TheHorse (72440)
• Walnut Creek, California
8 Oct 16
These are all great ideas!
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@GardenGerty (102585)
• United States
9 Oct 16
Thanks, you probably have done many of these working in a preschool and probably could teach me a thing or two.
@Hatley (164485)
• Garden Grove, California
8 Oct 16
those are all oood ideas for kids to build motort skills for s ure
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@GardenGerty (102585)
• United States
8 Oct 16
I am thinking I may need to do some of these myself to rebuild my hand and wrist strength.
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