What are Fine Motor Skills and Why are They Important?

If you’re reading our blog, then we’re going to place a few bets: you’ve got a child; you’ve played with LEGO® with your child; and, like us, sometimes you find it hard to get those little bricks to go together just the way you want them!  We often talk about LEGO® and the development of Fine Motor Skills – especially with the BRICKS 4 KIDZ Mosaic activities that we do at our programs – but what exactly does that mean?

What are Fine Motor Skills?

Fine motor skill (or dexterity) is the coordination of small muscle movements — usually involving the synchronisation of hands and fingers — with the eyes. The complex levels of manual dexterity that humans exhibit can be attributed to and demonstrated in tasks controlled by the nervous system. Fine motor skills aid in the growth of intelligence and develop continuously throughout the stages of human development.

Typically, motor skills are categorised into two groups: gross motor skills and fine motor skills.

  • Gross motor skills are involved in movement and coordination of the arms, legs, and other large body parts and movements. They participate in actions such as running, crawling, swimming, etc.
  • Fine motor skills – the ones we focus on – are involved in smaller movements that occur in the wrists, hands, fingers, and the feet and toes. They participate in smaller actions such as picking up objects between the thumb and finger, writing carefully, and even blinking. These two motor skills work together to provide coordination.

A child in pre-school is developing these fine motor skills.  By the time the child enters primary school, they are refining those skills.  Study after study have pointed to the benefits of regularly playing with LEGO® (or other building blocks) for the development and refinement of these skills.

Why are Fine Motor Skills Important?

At a basic level, fine motor skills are essential for performing everyday skills like self-care tasks (e.g. managing clothing fastenings, opening lunch boxes, cleaning teeth) and pencil skills. Without the ability to complete these every day tasks, a child’s self esteem can suffer and their academic performance is compromised. They are also unable to develop appropriate independence in life skills (such as getting dressed and feeding themselves).

However, many people are surprised to learn that a robust predictor of academic achievement is fine motor skills. Early fine motor skills in kindergarten are a predictor for reading and maths achievement during early school.

Our popular School Holiday Programs, Birthday Parties, and After School Workshops are a GREAT way to keep your child interested in and regularly playing with LEGO® Bricks.  The programs explore science, engineering and technology concepts as kids have fun and build motorised models using LEGO® Bricks.  Have a look at our programs and find one near you now.  Don’t miss out!

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