27 May 2013
Summer is a great time to work on gross motor skills as kids take advantage of the warm weather and run, swim, ride their bikes, and climb on the playground outside. Very often, kids are very busy actively engaging in various activities throughout the day that build their core and upper body strength. However, it is important not to forget about their fine motor skills amidst all the fun. Bath time is a great opportunity to incorporate fine motor development in a fun, natural environment. Here I have listed some activities that work on hand strengthening, bilateral integration – using both hands for different purposes in a coordinated manner, eye hand coordination, visual perception, finger isolation, and prewriting strokes.
• Fill a spray bottle with water. Have your child smear some shaving cream or shampoo on bath wall and then “clean” it up by spraying it with the spray bottle. It is best for your child to perform this exercise using only one hand, but weaker or smaller hands may require use of both hands simultaneously.
• Have your child squeeze all the water out of small, tennis-sized “koosh balls”, using only one hand at a time.
• Have your child wet a washcloth and twist it to squeeze all the water out
• Have your child trace his/her hand or a cup or toy using bath crayons
Eye Hand Coordination/ Visual Perception:
• Have your child pour water from one cup into another without spilling the water. As your child gets better at this, grade the task by having them pour from a cup into a vessel with a smaller opening such as a water bottle.
• Using bath crayons, draw a narrow, double-lined path on the tub wall. Have your child draw a line within your path without drawing outside of the lines. This can be made easier or more difficult depending on how wide you draw the path and whether you draw a straight path or a curved path.
• Use foam blocks to create geo-shape pattern and have your child copy your pattern using same shapes and colors.
• Place foam blocks randomly on tub wall. Ask your child to find specific blocks (i.e. “blue triangle) that are hidden in the design.
• Have your child use spray bottle to spray at a specific target on tub wall.
• Have your child use their index finger or index and middle finger together to trace pictures or letters on the tub wall or to navigate through a path.
Some children find learning how to draw shapes or letters to be frustrating and not very high on their to-do list. However, drawing pictures with shaving cream, shampoo, or bath crayons is often viewed as a less intimidating, even fun task.
• Have your child watch how you draw a shape or letter and copy using one of the above stated materials. (If drawing in shampoo or shaving cream, smear some on the wall to create a white or bubbly foam rectangle and then use finger to draw inside, clearing away the foam as you draw.)
You’ll be amazed at how much kids look forward to working on these important skills when splashing around in the bath…they may not even want to come out!