What are “Fine Motor Skills” and Why Are They Important for Children to Develop?
Fine motor skills are the coordination of small muscles in the fingers, hands, and forearms. Children need to develop strong fine motor muscles to complete essential tasks such as: holding scissors to cut, gripping a pencil to write, or “buttoning” and “zipping” their clothes when getting dressed.
How to Incorporate Fine Motor Skills into Your Speech Therapy Sessions:
Incorporating fine motor skills activities into your speech therapy sessions can be a wonderful way to increase participation and interest in what you are working on with the child. The best part is that this can be done inexpensively and with minimal prep time. Check out 10 ways to incorporate fine motor skills activities into your next speech session, below:
Popsicle Sticks and Mini Hair Elastics:
First, Write your target words on the cards (this can be articulation words, sight words, math problems, etc.). Next, turn a card over and say your word 5 times. Then, roll the dice and put that amount of mini hair elastics on the jumbo craft sticks.
Stacking Objects is a favorite fine motor activity of mine because the kids are always engaged whenever you switch out the manipulatives. This activity is a great way to elicit a ton of trials during articulation drills without needing many supplies. Stacking Objects supplies suggestions: plastic eggs (opened), mini erasers, blocks, snap cubes, coins, etc
Goals to Address:
- Degrees of Comparison:Â biggest tower, smallest tower, this tower is smaller
- Following Directions: Stack two pink cubes AFTER you stack three blue cubes
- Pronouns:Â She has a tower with four erasers. He has a tower with three erasers. Her tower is taller.
Check out theÂ Printable Activities below that use stacking objects to target specific speech therapy goals:
- Stacking Speech Towers Bundle
- Speech and Language Frames Bundle
- Speech Trial Mats
- Speech Grids
- Speech Boot Camp Bundle
Paper Clips & Clothespins:
Using paper clips and clothespins is an incredibly inexpensive way to incorporate fine motor skills during speech therapy drills. First, have the child attach a paperclip or clothespin to an individual stimulus card. Then, around the edges of a paper, create a paperclip chain, or manipulate the paperclips to form the targeted letter.
Check out the printable activity pictured above: Speech Trial Mats
Kinetic Sand & Mini Animals:
Start with an open conversation about the kinetic sand; talk about only using fingers and how the sand feels when you squish it.
Goals to address:
- VC Words: in; off; out; on
- Prepositional Phrases: in the box; in the sand; on top of the ____; next to the ___; between the ___; under the ___
- Plurals: Put 1 animal in the sand then have the child add the matching animal, âone pig, two pigsâ
- Sorting: animals that fly; animals that walk on four legs; animals that have a tail
Puzzles are a great way to introduce the little ones to the skills required for âbig kidâ puzzles. Grab a cheap puzzle (dollar stores, Walmart, Target, etc.) and number each puzzle piece. Put a puzzle piece on each stimulus card then let the child find the correct spot (and matching number) on the puzzle board. You can use this activity with numbers, alphabet, shapes, etc.Â
There are SO many speech therapy goals that you can address with this inexpensive manipulative (Legos).
Goals to Address:
- Pronouns:Â âGive a block to her; This is his blockâ
- Prepositions:Â âThe princess is on top of the pink block. The doctor is between the two blocks.âÂ
- Following Directions: âPut the princess on the blue block AFTER you put the doctor on the yellow block.â
- Reinforcement during drills:Â student gets a block after each trial.
Pom Poms & Tweezers:
Using plastic tweezers to pick up pom poms is a great way to work on fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.
Additional goals include:
- Pronouns: âShe has three pom poms. He picked up four pom poms.â
- Prepositions / Phrase level: âThe pom pom is ON the ___.â
- Following Directions: âPick up a blue pom pom after you pick up a yellow one.â
- Reinforcement During Drills: student gets a chance to place a pom pom in an ice cube tray after each speech trial
Scissor skills is a pretty straightforward activity that the kids love. Grab some kid-friendly scissors and scraps of construction paper. After each correct speech therapy trial (varies depending on the childâs goal), allow the child to cut a piece off of the construction paper. Once you complete all speech trials, let the child glue all of the construction paper pieces onto a paper plate.
Using a hole puncher is another inexpensive way to incorporate fine motor skills during speech therapy drills. Let the child use the hole puncher along the edges of a notecard, bulletin board shapes/cutouts, or (photocopies) of stimulus cards.
Q: Does Texas Speech Mom have any Low to No-Prep “Fine Motor Skills” Activities for Preschool Speech Therapy?Â
A: Oh, Iâm so happy you asked (insert wink). CLICK HERE to check out all of the downloadable printable speech therapy resources that I use during my speech therapy sessions to incorporate fine motor skills.
Q: Texas Speech Mom’s Suggested Toys and Materials for “Fine Motor Skills”:Â
A: Check out the Texas Speech Moom Amazon storefront full of my favorite fine motor skills games and activities for preschool through 2nd grade!
TSM’s Favorite Toys and Materials on Amazon (or click the image below)
LOVE FREEBIES? I am so glad to hear that because I have created a FREE DOWNLOAD that includes all of the information in this post and several no-prep printable activities ready for you to download!
Thank you for sticking with me through this long blog post! As you can see, I am passionate about making my speech therapy sessions functional for little ones. Targeting fine motor skills is the perfect way to do that! I have so many tips, ideas, and materials for those tough speech therapy sessions FUN and FUNCTIONAL that I can’t wait to share with you!
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