Beading to Build Your Child's Motor Skills (And Then Some)

Posted by beadsRfun on 1/12/2015

Motor skills are like any other skill: you need to practice them to keep them. But for children who have issues with fine motor skills, they yet have to develop capable muscles in their fingers, hands and wrists so they will be able to build on that capability as they grow older.

But how do you determine if your 4-year-old child, for example, has problems with her fine motor development? Simple. Ask her to string 1/2 inch beads onto a lace, and if she fails to do that properly, then she may need to have exercises. Other warning signs may include inability to use fork and spoon properly, or put on her own pants, socks and shoes. 

To get your child started on fine motor exercises, you would need waxed cords and large-hole beads. Choose bright, candy colors to keep your child engaged, but keep an open eye to prevent accidental choking from this tempting treat-lookalike. A simple string of necklace will do for her first project, but you can let the child choose her own colors so she can see how each combination of color looks like and what combination looks best. You would need at least a set of waxed cords for this so she'll be able to keep her finished projects and look back at them for comparison. You can also take a photo of the project as it is finished, which you should archive to keep track of her progress. Although the focus for this exercise is to refine her movements, keeping her interested with what her creativity can produce will also open up other sets of skills along the way. 

As she grows older and becomes more familiar with beads and beading, you can introduce her to other types of beads and more complicated patterns and color combinations. To strengthen the muscles that she had started to train, give her beads with smaller holes but big enough to be grasped by hand. 

By age 5 to 7, average children are able to use scissors to cut out shapes while staying on the lines. This does not mean, however, that they can use pliers for those hard-to-reach spaces or difficult angles. Of course you can start to encourage them to use tools aside from their hands, but don't fault the child if she cannot perfect the execution just yet.

You can also use the beading exercise as an opportunity to instruct and develop her affinity for arithmetic and reading without making it a task. There are letter and number cubes and charms that the child can string together while learning a new word or mastering the numbers 1 to 100. Apart from candy-colored beads, you can also use various textures to keep your child's tactile senses engaged. Introduce your stimuli at a moderate pace, however, to avoid making the child overwhelmed and unable to cope with your changes, as that could lead to frustration.

Beading may initially be just an exercise for developing finer movements, but if used suitably, it can also be programmed to make learning fun for children.
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