Fine moto activities for 4 year old, non-crafty boy. And is he really behind? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 16 Old 01-28-2012, 02:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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DS is 4 3/4 and has never been interested in drawing or crafts. I haven't pushed it but I've noticed lately that he is maybe a bit behind with his fine motor skills. He doesn't have a proper grip if he holds a pen, paintbrush or crayon. He very rarely does any of those things as it just doesn't interest him. He mostly still scribbles although he can draw a basic person if he wants to. He is also clumsy with his eating utensils and doesn't seem to have chosen a dominant hand. On the other hand, he can do up shirt buttons, peel off tiny stickers and stick them down, etc. I'm going to start trying to introduce some fine motor activities both to give him practice and also so I can really observe where he's at. He would probably do a craft for a few minutes but it would likely be a one hit wonder. I haven't introduced lego because I feel like he would just spread it round the house and not actually build with it but maybe I should get a small set to try out. I'm going to make play dough but that will probably only be exciting once. I'm also going to get some beads to string as he enjoyed stringing popcorn at christmas.  Any other ideas for fine motor activities that an active boy might be interested in? 

 

By the way, his gross motor skills are good and what he is mostly interested in. He can ride a 2 wheeler, run, climb, jump, etc. He's also very verbal. 

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#2 of 16 Old 01-28-2012, 04:33 PM
 
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Legos would be a good thing to try -- start with a small set so you don't break the bank. Our son had fine motor delays (and probably has some delay with his visual spatial processing), and he never played with legos. The only ones he'd attempt were fire trucks because he was obsessed with fire trucks. But he asked us to build them and wouldn't try much himself. (He was actually in occupational therapy for a couple of years because he also had some sensory issues and some major gross motor issues (wouldn't cross his midline, couldn't coordinate the sides of his body, wouldn't put his head below his shoulders and had overall weak core muscles).)

 

Other things that helped:

Baking bread (kneading the dough)

Silly putty

Baking cookies and having him roll the cookie dough into balls.

Having him write with very short pencils/crayons (golf-sized pencils or smaller) because they force the proper grip

Playing in sand -- especially having to pick things out of it. I taught a Sunday School lesson when he was 4 or 5 where we were talking about Ruth gleaning grain from the field. I brought in a bucket with some rice mixed in sand to show the kids how hard that is, and to give them some sensory play during Sunday School. Ds loved it ,and spent a lot of time picking rice out of the sand. You could mix dried beans and dried peas and have him separate the two.

 

I'd also try to rotate the activities -- playdough might be a 20 minute activity once a month. That's fine.


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#3 of 16 Old 01-28-2012, 04:34 PM
 
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Playdoh?  That's what my 4.5 yr old does to strengthen his hands and he will squeeze it and roll it and use playdoh scissors to cut.  It has really helped wth fine motor.  Get bigger crayons for him to write with and do hand over hand if he will let you and see if that progresses things.


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#4 of 16 Old 01-28-2012, 04:50 PM
 
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And what about cutting with scissors.  My 4yo loves just randomly cutting pieces of paper into tiny bits.  He's also enjoyed some crafts they've done at preschool where they had to cut specific shapes out to glue together and make a craft.


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#5 of 16 Old 01-28-2012, 05:04 PM
 
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I don't have any suggestions of things he could do, but he's only behind if he's being compared to someone or something else. I have found that a lot of the ideas about what children should be doing at a certain age is based on what kids need to know for school. If you let a child develop without those constraints, they will get on track with whatever they do when they are ready.

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#6 of 16 Old 01-28-2012, 06:26 PM
 
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Sounds like my son at that age. He's 15 now and except for horrible handwriting, just like his dad, he's fine.
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#7 of 16 Old 01-29-2012, 02:05 PM
 
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My DS at age 8 STILL hates crafts and coloring. At age 4 I discovered that he loved mazes and dot-to-dots, but only if he could do them with markers. Those helped immensely. As did the Leapster (it has a stylus which requires good fine motor). At age 8 he has really nice handwriting.

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#8 of 16 Old 01-30-2012, 07:51 AM
 
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He sounds within the normal range to me. My ds didn't have a dominant hand at that age and is still not strongly right handed. He's close to ambidexterous. My ds also hated crafts, drawing, and writing. He did like things that involved squeezing, like using glitter glue (that will build hand strength!) with popsicle sticks. He liked legos but needed some help with them at 4. He liked mazes but would tend to do them with his eyes rather than trace through with a pencil. How about working with a screwdriver? Ds liked tools way more than crayons and such.


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#9 of 16 Old 01-31-2012, 02:42 AM
 
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We got lego for DSs 5th birthday and he can just about put it together but is easily frustrated by it and still prefers duplo for most building. If you go for lego I would recomend getting a base plate, we found the kids could stick brick to that much more easily than trying to click two small pieces together.

 

We have lots of contruction type toys, gear gear gears, marble runs and he is just starting to enjoy the meccano sets aimed at young children.

 

Pipe cleaners are popular here, the kids make all sorts of things with them, threading beads or cut up drinking straws on them adds extra fun.

 

Threading 0 shapes cereal onto a string to make a necklace is another activity they like, especially eating the results!

 

How about a piping bag or those little tubes of icing to decorate some cupcakes. Cream cheese in a piping bag is a healthier option, use rice cakes as the base and added cut up bits of veg on top of the cream cheese.

 

 

 

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#10 of 16 Old 01-31-2012, 04:34 PM
 
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You might consider trying duplo lego rather than regular lego if you are concerned about his fine motor skills at 4. Maybe search out a castle or pirate set on ebay (geared for the older kids but out of production). My son has very good fine motor skills and while he can build enormous things with duplo small legos are still quite tricky at this age.

 

Also, it sounds like his small motor skills might be okay generally but it is really an issue with pencil/drawing/grip issues. Do you have correctly sized pencils for his hands? Good quality art supplies? Most art supplies are really lousy and poorly sized. I really like lyra ferby art supplies which are expensive but last a long time. They are shaped the right way for good gripe development and the colors flow smoothly on the paper. We keep them in a little pencil holder that keeps them organized and attractive. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000H6QS1W/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_3/185-0169614-9574068?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_r=0CV0PV0KH0PFT4P9RFTG&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_p=486539851&pf_rd_i=B002JLWIXK

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#11 of 16 Old 02-01-2012, 07:26 AM
 
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I think you have to just keep reminding them about the grip till it feels natural. I can remember reminding my daughter to "pinch the pencil" for MONTHS before she started to do it on her own (on the advice of an OT).  It just takes practice.

 

 

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#12 of 16 Old 02-01-2012, 11:25 AM
 
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Many kids of that age still don't have a proper grip. Triangle shaped pencils and crayons as well as tiny crayons/pencils naturally encourage a child to use the proper grip.

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#13 of 16 Old 02-03-2012, 11:46 AM
 
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Kids definitely need to be taught the correct pencil grip, so maybe it's just that your son has never been taught?  It's definitely awkward for little fingers to hold the pencil the right way until they get the hang of it.  My son is 4yo and I found tracing worksheets to be really helpful - tracing lines, curves, pictures, etc.  Look for worksheets that are really colorful and have pictures - my son hated the cheapo black and white worksheets but stuff with colors worked really well.  Time and practice will help a lot.  Good luck.

 

Also, the website I use for worksheets recently posted a free e-book on helping children develop the right pencil grip and it had lots of suggestions.  Look on the kindergarten worksheets page, upper right corner for the link to download the book.

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#14 of 16 Old 02-03-2012, 07:08 PM
 
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Oh and Office Depot sells those little pencil grippers to make it easier for them to hold the pencil correctly.  I have been advised to get some for my 4.5 yr old to help with his grip and just need to go get them.


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#15 of 16 Old 02-04-2012, 02:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the responses. I'm definitely going to encourage more fine motor work but having heard from you guys and doing some reading I don't think he's really behind. I talked to the teacher again and mentioned that I wasn't worried and she agreed and said she always forgets how young he actually is (he's tall). We had the same thing when he first started preschool last year and they mentioned that his climbing was hesitant and clumsy. I took it all on board but was surprised because he never seemed behind his same age peers. When I talked to them again though they had checked all the birthdays, realized he was the youngest in the class and basically took it all back. The funny thing is, he's going to Waldorf so we don't actually have to worry about grip for another 1 1/2 years! 

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#16 of 16 Old 02-06-2012, 09:53 AM
 
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Chalk boards with little pieces of chalk.  If you can mounted on wall so he can stand and draw (some boys just can't sit long and that's why they don't do much draw/colouring).  Do you have an easel?

 

Also, ensure drawing/colouring stuff, crayons etc. are super short.  If they're short it forces them to do a pincer grasp (thumb/fingertip).  Long crayons and markers tend to invite palmar grasp.

 

Clothespins are great for working on pincer grip strength.  Maybe he'd have fun clipping them on his stuffies???

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