You have been working hard with your little one and now we need to step up! His fine motor skills still have a long way to go, and, as he keeps gaining more and more control over his small muscles, we will keep proposing new activities to help the acquisition and refining of hand coordination.
What can you expect?
During the second year of his life, your little one will most likely be able to do some of the following:
- Grasping: Taking objects into his hands, for example holding a crayon with his fist.
- Reaching: Hands and arms start working together so he is able to reach for objects and pick them up from the floor. You might be able to observe that he continues to alternate hands; at this moment, the dominant hand is still emerging.
- Releasing: Usually preceded by grasping or reaching, your little one might be able to let go of the objects he picked up. This action can be seen when playing with building blocks or grasping and releasing scissors. You might notice the release has not been refined. This skill will keep developing at least for one more year, but practicing the movement helps strengthen the muscles he will use later on when releasing objects, or even when writing.
- Rotating his wrist: Moving his hands in circular motions strengthens small muscles that are the foundation for future writing skills.
How can you support his hand coordination development?
- Mold and roll play dough into balls.
- Tear newspaper into strips, this can be very fun for him!
- Squeeze water from a sponge and move it from one recipient to another. Maybe you can compete and see who does it faster.
- Roll small balls out of tissue paper and find something fun to do with them. Play basketball or paste them in a paper forming a shape.
- Sing songs with hand movements or gestures. Have him sing along and repeat what you do with your hands. This will not only foster his hand coordination but his imitation abilities as well!
- Play clapping games. You can clap twice and have him repeat the pattern. Playing with different sequence games is a great way to foster problem solving skills.
- Scribbling. Model writing in front of him. Give him crayons and have him sit next to you so he can imitate your “writing” movements while scribbling.
- Bake a cake together. Have him whip the ingredients, and scoop some of them in. Both of these movements contribute to the development of fine motor skills.
- Let him wash his hands while you stand beside him in case he needs help. This is something you can practice a few times a day that will also foster his self-care and independence skills.
- Have him dress himself as much as possible and support him when necessary. Even though he might have a hard time at the beginning, little by little you’ll see how he becomes more skilled every day!
You probably will witness some new accomplishments like turning door knobs and book pages during this stage. His newfound interest in building blocks can be a great activity to foster the underlaying abilities that will help him manipulate objects with precise and controlled movements.
Remember that the actions you take to support him in the accomplishment of his fine motor skills can contribute to the development of independence, self-care, and problem-solving skills as well. Take advantage of this great opportunity and continue fostering your little one’s development!