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At 3 years old Kyson was still unable to hold a spoon properly. He would always grab the very tip of the spoon handle and try to scoop food which leads to frustration and hunger. We’ve tried heavier spoons and wide round handled spoons but it didn’t seem to help. We concluded that he didn’t have the strength in his little hands to be able to do so.
When it came to coloring with markers, he did the same. He eventually did hold the marker but ended up grasping the entire marker with a fist hold. Even with adjusting his fingers to the proper technique of thumb and index, he would fuss and undo it. It was uncomfortable for him. He held it just like a knife and constantly stab the marker to make dots on the paper. This started the path to build his strength up in his hands towards fine motor skills.
Fine motor skills are the coordination of small muscles in movements. Usually involving the hands and finger with the eyes.
Here are the top list sensory toys we’ve used to improve Kyson’s fine motor skills.
Kinetic sand was Kyson’s first choice in “play” during therapy breaks. During break times, he always wanted sand. He received one from his Aunt for Christmas and we also happen to get him one too. Double the sand! The sets come with 1 lb., but you can get individual portions of the sand if you need more. It’s nice as the set comes with a tray and little utensils. Also, little molds to create with the sand. It’s moldable which makes it easy to clean up. Avoid the glitter, yes it’s pretty, but glitter tends to stick a little more on your hands and everywhere else when there’s a spill.
Play-Doh is great, especially this set. We started off slowly by having him make a ball each session. Once we achieved that, we used the rolling pin to flatten the ball out. Kyson still loves to crumble them into tiny pieces and watch them fall. The accessories also include scissors. This is our next challenge as he is still uncomfortable with the positioning of his hands on the scissors. For easy cleanup, I use a large charger plate.
These magnet tiles are great for little hands. You can stack and build, a great way to use your imagination. After Kyson is done playing, I have him take the magnet pieces apart and we tower them up and box them away. The staking of the magnets has helped with eye-hand coordination.
Water beads are great fun! We use it for more of a relaxing technique. From all the above small workouts on those little hand muscles, dipping your hands into a soothing tub of water beads is quite the enjoyment. Even I enjoy putting my hands in here and giving the beads a little wiggle. This set will last you quite a long time. We’ve made over 10 tubs already, like the one below and we still have more than half the jar.
Each time we play with these, we work with Kyson for only 10 minutes or so and the rest of the 30 minutes, he goes all out! We hope you enjoy our top sensory toys for strengthening little hands for fine motor skills.