Saturday, March 21, 2009

Fine Motor Skills in the Highchair

As kids get more mobile it becomes harder to work on fine motor skills. What preemie on the go wants to sit still? One of the best ways to help your preemie focus on fine motor skills is to do it while he/she is in the highchair. With some planning and enthusiasm you can really make some great progress. Here are some games and activities to try that I posted on a message board recently.

Cheerio Drop and Dump - Get about 10-15 cheerios and put them on the highchair tray (eating the cheerios is always okay and encouraged). Put a small bowl on the try next to the cheerios. Encourage your little one to drop the cheerios into the bowl one at a time. Try and get him/her to use a pincer grasp (thumb and first finger) to pick up the cheerios and drop them in. Once all of the cheerios are in the bowl - let him/her dump it out and do it again. Once he/she has dumped them out once he/she may only want to put a couple in before dumping but that's okay :)

Raisin Drop and Dump - same as above but with raisins - smaller and harder to do.

Stickers - Get a bunch of stickers - bigger ones to start. Start by taking a sticker and putting it on your little one's hand. Encourage him/her to take the sticker off and put it somewhere else. Use smaller stickers as he/she gets good at it. Once he/she gets the hang of it, let him/her peel off a sticker (will probably need you to start it) and then let him/her put it on a paper.

Coloring - tape a piece of paper to the highchair tray. Give your little one a crayon and encourage them to color on the paper. take a crayon yourself and draw some lines on the paper. At first they will probably just make dots and then tentative lines. Once they master a straight line, encourage them to draw a circle and make a cross. Some kids like to hold a crayon in their fist at first so you may want to break a crayon in half or buy the little beginnings crayons.

Popsicle Sticks - Get a travel coffee mug that has a slot at the top. Take some small popsicle sticks and have your little one drop them into the cup through the slot. Once they put them in, open the lid and let them dump them out. Repeat.

Playdough - this is a tough one because kids may try and eat the playdough. You have to be really careful. Take some playdough and just let your little one touch it, squish, roll it, etc. Encourage them to roll small pieces of the dough in between their thumb and first finger. Make snakes by rolling pieces with their whole hand.

Toy suggestion - Right now Target has a great little mini-barn and small plastic animals in the $1 section. They are great (slightly larger) items that can kids can play with and practice picking up, etc.

For drawing - you can get one of those portable drawing boards that erase (Doodle boards) or the Aqua Doodles - uses water to color and then dries so you can do it again.

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