Your preschooler needs to get his behind in gear when he starts kindergarten and be pretty sophisticated — relatively speaking of course — when it comes to handling a crayon, pencil, paste and scissors. Physical motor abilities include gross motor movements like running, skipping and walking, and fine motor skills like opening and closing hands, grasping and catching. Don’t worry if your little one isn’t exactly where you think he should be based on developmental charts when kindergarten begins next year. Her physical motor skills are bound to improve during the course of the school year, explains Education.com.
Fine-Tuned Fine Motor Skills
Your 5-year-old’s hands may be small but they must be strong enough to perform common kindergarten tasks that include holding colored pencils and crayons, and cutting and squirting glue out of a container, explains Scholastic.com. Without these fine motor skills under her belt, your preschooler may fall behind because she may be asked to hold a pencil to write a letter of the alphabet or a number in kindergarten. Besides, if your child’s hands lack proper hand and finger coordination, how will she be able to draw a beautiful image of the sun that you could hang proudly on the refrigerator?
How You Can Help
You can help your 5-year-old be “kindergarten ready” by assisting him as he practices writing letters, starting with those in his first name. Ask him to write letters of the alphabet with markers, crayons and colored pencils so his hands become accustomed to the subtle differences in how the different writing utensils feel in his hands. Teach your child to always use an uppercase letter when writing the first letter of his name and lowercase letters for the rest.
Have your little one play with play dough because it has the ideal texture to strengthen the hand muscles used when writing. Take things a step further and introduce your child to multi-sensory activities like finger painting, writing or drawing with salt or sugar on a cookie sheet. You could also use shaving cream in the bathtub to write or make designs.
Give your kindergartener old newspapers or magazines to cut up with a pair of child-safe scissors. Ask her to cut out the photos and letters she likes and glue them to a piece of paper or cardboard for a collage. Help your child string toasted oats through a pipe cleaner to make bracelets. Make sure she pinches her fingers just like when she grasps a pencil.Gaining Ground on Gross Motor Skills
Your child should be ready to perform or play any activity kindergarten happens to throw his way in the gym or on the playground. A 5-year-old has the balance and coordination of an adult, according to HealthyChildren.org. You may not notice his skills because he spends so much time jumping, skipping and twirling about. Catch him in a non-playful state and notice how much confidence he has when walking and running. Observe his long, confident strides. Your soon-to-be kindergartener feels secure enough to walk up and down stairs without using the railing. He also has the muscular wherewithal to swing high in the sky without a push, perform somersaults and catch a large ball.
How You Can Help
Your future soccer pro or football great may feel a little overwhelmed when he comes face to face with new classmates during recess or in gym activities. You can help ease her fears by grabbing a basketball and tossing or kicking it back and forth to strengthen his gross motor abilities along with his confidence. Take turns throwing a ball overhand and catching it. Bear in mind that your 5-year-old’s motor skills are stronger than her common sense so you’ll have to remind her over and over again to stop and look both ways before retrieving a ball that may have landed in the street. Make a trip to the playground where your little one can run around and show off her swinging savvy.