As days go by, your little one is not so little anymore! You will bear witness of some great accomplishments and watch her gain more control over every aspect of her life. One of those aspects she is learning about is muscle movement. And as in every stage, this year comes with some great new skills.
What can you expect?
Your little one will most likely be able to:
• Catch smaller balls
• Insert small objects through a small opening
• Hold a crayon or pencil between her fingers, abandoning the fist-grip
• Start drawing or coloring a picture
• Copy simple lines
• Cut with scissors, even if it’s not in a straight line
• Manipulate small objects like puzzle pieces
How can you support her hand coordination development?
To keep building a strong foundation for her to progress on, you can do some of the following:
- Model how to hold a pen/pencil and watch her imitate you. If she can’t do it the first time, encourage her to practice more. You’ll see her make shoulder and elbow movements to draw lines in all directions, and each time she’ll show a little more control while doing them.
- Zipping and unzipping zippers might be a great way to strengthen small muscles and practice self-dressing skills.
- During snack time, try cutting fruit into bite size portions and have her serve the snacks herself, so she can practice grabbing small objects. You can do this with other types of food like cereal or crackers.
- Stringing beads. It can be a great way to foster the development of hand coordination abilities. You can also try this using cereal. Keep in mind supervision is always needed during this type of play to avoid any choking hazards.
- Picking up connecting blocks after building a tower. There’s a lot of different exercises you can practice with this. Bending over to pick each one up, separating them into colors, classifying them by different sizes, etc.
- Putting together simple peg puzzles can also contribute to the improvement of hand and wrist dexterity. Plus, it’s a great way to foster cognitive flexibility and problem-solving abilities!
Many of these activities and movements are crucial for gaining pre-writing skills. Remember how important it is to establish a solid foundation for them next time you are spending time with your little one =)
- More on scribbling: Fine motor skills: The art of scribbling and writing Part 2
- More on pencil grip: Developing your child’s pencil grip