What are fine motor skills?

Fine motor skills involve the use, strength, control and dexterity of the small muscles of the body - mainly in the hands.

These skills also involve the coordination between these small muscles and the eyes. We use fine motor skills to make small movements.

They are complex skills and abilities that are built on gross motor skills.

Why are fine motor skills important?

These skills are essential for everyday tasks such as feeding, grasping toys, buttoning and zipping clothes, writing, drawing and cutting.

Without sufficient fine motor skills, a child's self-esteem may suffer as their academic performance may be compromised, their play options may be limited and they would not be independent and successful in their activities of daily living (e.g. feeding, dressing, brushing teeth).

For example, a child may struggle to hold scissors and open and close them sufficiently enough for accurate cutting. Their hand may also tire quite easily. This could cause them to become frustrated and avoid cutting tasks, as they find it too difficult.

Signs of fine motor delay:

  • Child does not show interest in grasping objects

  • Poor eye-hand coordination

  • Child appears clumsy

  • Avoidance of fine motor tasks such as drawing, writing and cutting

  • Battles to eat food with utensils

  • Difficulties playing with toys such as building blocks

  • Struggles to stick out tongue to taste food

  • Child has trouble grasping or releasing objects

  • Doesn't use both hands together in tasks

Contact your local Occupational Therapist if you have any concerns with regards to your child's fine motor development!

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