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Do you have a young child with autism with boundless energy that you need to constantly monitor? If you don’t keep a well-trained eye on him, he may be a danger to himself or others as he doesn’t understand safety issues so a hot stove or toaster doesn’t mean anything to him. He may be interested in dumping out liquids, squeezing out tubes, scooping out your favorite lotion (waaaaah), etc.
The benefits of fine motor activities
When my son was younger, he was constantly wandering around the house and getting into things. I found that giving him fine motor activities helped him and I in multiple ways:
- Strengthened his fine motor skills so that he was able to grasp a pencil with a more appropriate grasp.
- Worked on his hand-eye coordination.
- Worked on using two hands at once (bi-lateral coordination).
- Reduced his echolalia (can I hear a hallelujah?)
- Kept him in his chair for a longer period of time so I could keep an eye on him while I was doing something and not have to chase after him.
Here are a few of the fine motor activities that he did, I was constantly on the lookout for different activities that he could do as they kept him occupied, worked on multiple things and he seemed to like them. If he lost interest in an activity, I pulled it out of the rotation and brought it back several months later. A lot of the items below have small pieces so if your child likes to put things in his mouth, please be mindful of that as he will need supervision.
Fine motor fun activities
- Lacing toys – this is a great activity which travels well.
- Pom poms – you can do a lot with these, get a couple of small/low containers and some kid friendly chopsticks. Put an assortment of pom poms in one container and have your child use the chopsticks to move it to the other container.
- Zoobs – build all kinds of things, kids love how they click together.
- Stringing Beads – necklaces, bracelets
- Straws & Connectors – build to your heart’s desire, make a castle or a car and sit inside. This was a favorite for my kids.
- Quercetti Mosaic Pegboard – you can use these for making pictures, learning the alphabet or whatever else you can think of.
Another side benefit to fine motor activities such as these is that it allows a group of children to do things together that they don’t need a lot of language for. My son has limited language, but he could parallel play nicely with another child by doing an activity where they could both work on something individually or even build something together with the Straws & Connectors or completing a puzzle. He did not need a lot of language to enjoy doing these types of activities with another child because both were focused on the task at hand.
What types of fine motor activites does your child like to do? If you like this post, please “like it”, share it & leave a comment. I love hearing your thoughts.