A trend that I have noticed lately is Kindergarteners are coming in with poor fine motor skills, year after year. With technology on the rise, many students have not held a pencil, used scissors, or even played with play dough before. The result is students who struggle with handwriting, among other things they should learn in Kindergarten, such as tying their shoes or closing a ziplock baggie correctly. If you aren't sure how to incorporate fine motor skills in Kindergarten, how to tell if your students need additional help, or why they even need it… well then you are in the right place! This week I am chatting all about fine motor skills in Kindergarten and answering some of your questions!
Fine Motor Skills vs Gross Motor Skills
Motor Skills are the skills that enable the movements of our bodies.
Fine Motor Skills refer to the precise movements made by the smaller muscles, like hands, fingers, and wrist. Example: using scissors, zipping a jacket, opening and closing containers.
Gross Motor Skills refer to a bigger movement, made by the larger muscles, like arms and legs. Example: swinging on a swing, jumping, kicking a ball.
What fine motor skills should a Kindergartener be able to do proficiently?
By the age of 5-6, children should be able to:
- Cut with scissors
- Draw shapes
- Grasp a pencil correctly
- Cut out a circle
- Fold paper
- Tear paper
- Build with legos or play dough
What does this have to do with handwriting?
Holding a pencil is one of the most important skills students need to master. If a student does not have a proper pencil grip, then they will struggle with handwriting. Fixing an improper pencil grip is SO HARD to do, but they will thank you in the future as 4th graders writing 5 paragraph essays. I've seen it year after year (with very few exceptions)… Proper pencil grip = neat handwriting.
What to do if you notice a student has poor fine motor skills?
They need to be building those fine motor skills every single day! I had some kind of fine motor center activity, whether it was something with cutting, play dough, or clip cards. Also, I made sure to bring it up to their parents, and suggest a few activities that can help them at home, like playing with play dough, cutting shapes, or drawing using colored pencils. The more practice, the better they will get!
When do you fit fine motor practice in your day?
The easiest way for me was always to include a fine motor center during my daily center rotations. Cut and paste sorts, playdough cards, clip cards, etc are all easy to add whatever academic skill you are practicing. You can try a FREE clip card activity here.