You probably don't think about your fine motor skills often, but when you button a sweater, pick up some change from a counter, and tie your sneakers, you are using the fine motor skills of your hands. Virtually everything we do with our hands requires the use of fine motor skills. Whether you like to do needlepoint, type at a computer, or draw, fine motor skills are essential. You can improve your dexterity and control by doing fine motor exercises.
Fine Motor Control
Your fine motor control involves the cooperation and coordination of the muscles in your hands and your brain. Fine motor skills are precise movements that enable you to do things such as pick up a coin or use a needle to sew a stitch. You need coordination among your index finger, thumb and your brain to make the precise movements necessary to cut a shape out of paper or write your name. Practice can improve your fine motor skills.
Fine Motor Skills Activities
If you have difficulty using your hands to perform simple tasks, such as picking up paper clips or writing legibly, try some activities that will help improve your fine motor skills. Stack coins or small blocks in a tower. Dump some buttons or small coins, such as dimes, on a smooth counter and then pick them up one at a time. Activities such as needlework, knitting and crocheting help improve the motor skills in your hands. Use tweezers to pick up grains of rice or popcorn kernels, or try everyday activities such as cutting paper, peeling vegetables, and typing to exercise your hands.
Iphone and iPad users can improve the fine motor skills in their hands by using a dedicated application. Apps that help improve the fine muscle movements of your hands and fingers can be downloaded right to your device. The programs are entertaining as well as good for your fine motor skill development. Many applications are designed to help improve fine motor skills for children or have rehabilitative applications for adults, but all of them are effective for improving fine motor skills for anyone.
Nothing happens in your body without your brain knowing about it and controlling it. Even automatic activities, such as breathing and your heart beating, are controlled by your brain. The same is true of fine motor skills in your hands. Your brain can adapt to a change in stimuli just like your muscles adapt by growing stronger. The muscles of your hands will improve in strength and dexterity as you continue to practice fine motor skills activities.
- American Stroke Association: Tips for Improving Fine Motor Skills
- National Institutes of Health: MedlinePlus: Fine Motor Control
- Assistive Technology World: Apps for Fine Motor Skills
- Binary Labs: Dexteria
- The Science of Learning Blog: The Motor-Cognitive Connection: Early Fine Motor Skills as an Indicator of Future Success
Robin Reichert is a certified nutrition consultant, certified personal trainer and professional writer. She has been studying health and fitness issues for more than 10 years. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of San Francisco and a Master of Science in natural health from Clayton College.