At this age, Baby is probably pretty eager to show off their gross motor skills. Climbing? Check. Running? Let’s go!
While they may be thrilled to be on the move much of the day, it’s just as important to work with them on developing their fine motor skills. Fine motor skills are the skills that use the small muscles in the hand to manipulate objects using the thumbs, fingers, and wrists to complete a task.
Though fine motor skills require a bit more focus to develop, Baby is also likely to want to do more on their own. Let them try to complete tasks during the day, providing lots of encouragement, and you may be surprised to see just how capable they are becoming as they grow.
Here are some fun ways to practice fine motor skills at home:
- Art: Drawing and painting are both great ways to develop fine motor skills. At this point, Baby should be able to scribble on paper, and even imitate simple lines. Let them keep doodling, and even painting. Both require grasping and holding a small object, which will work those little muscles!
- Blocks: Building towers is a longstanding toddler favorite, and is a good learning tool, as they must grab the blocks and also manipulate them to ensure the tower doesn’t fall. By the end of this year, Baby should be able to build a tower of about nine blocks.
- Beads: Grab a string and some beads, and let them help you make a pretty necklace or bracelet. They will have to focus considerably to get the beads on the string, and will be happy to be doing something nice for you, too!
- Books: When you’re reading together, allow Baby to practice turning the pages. Chances are, they will grab a few more than is needed, the first few times, but there’s no harm in skipping a couple of pages if it means helping develop these essential skills.
- Utensils: Mealtime is messy with a toddler, no doubt, but the only way it will get tidier is with practice. Let Baby be hands-on when it comes to self-feeding, and encourage them to use their fork and spoon instead of their hands.
As with most skills, practice makes perfect, and every child hits milestones at their own pace. This year, Baby should more proficient in completing daily tasks on their own, like dressing and eating with less assistance. You may also notice them start to show a preference for handedness this year. If they seem weak or shaky in their movements, you may want to contact their pediatrician to rule out any potential motor issues.