Ways to Improve Fine-Motor Skills in a Six-Year-Old

Fine-motor skills enable a child to cut and color successfully.
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Fine-motor skills require small movements by the hands. These skills are crucial for students to carry out tasks such as holding their pencil properly, writing legibly and cutting with scissors. Because fine-motor skills are essential for success in school, you should take action if your six-year-old lacks the physical ability to appropriately write, draw, color or cut. Fortunately, you can boost your child's fine-motor skills with a number of enjoyable activities.

1 Do Art Projects

By encouraging your child to do more art projects, you'll give him valuable practice at boosting his fine-motor skills, according to Education.com. The ideas for art projects are limitless. Give your child a piece of string and O-shaped cereal or pasta and have him string a necklace, which will require him to use a pincer grasp to pick up the pieces of cereal or pasta. Or give your child blank paper and finger-paints and encourage him to create a masterpiece. Finger-painting boosts fine-motor skills because it requires your child to build hand strength by controlling his movements to create an image on the paper.

2 Play With Clay

Set out chunks of clay and let your child create sculptures. The act of squeezing the clay into shapes and designs will improve muscle strength in your child's hands, fingers and wrists. Show your child how to mold the clay into balls, long strips or letters as effective activities to improve fine-motor skills. You might also hide small treasures, such as beads, coins or small plastic animals, in a ball of clay and ask your child to pull the clay apart to retrieve the treasures. Modeling clay works well for any of these activities, but any type of moldable art medium, including homemade dough, will serve the same purpose.

3 Write, Draw and Cut

Encourage your child to write. Holding a pencil properly and gripping it well enough to form letters will build strength in her hands, fingers and wrist. Ask your child to practice writing her spelling words or to pen a short story. Drawing pictures with pencils, crayons or markers will accomplish the same goal and might be more entertaining for your child. Cutting is another way to build hand, finger and wrist strength. Let your child cut pictures out of magazines and glue them to paper as one way to practice his cutting skills.

4 Additional Ideas

Give your child a set of tweezers and two bowls -- one of which is filled with beans or buttons. Ask your child to transfer the beans from one bowl to the other using the tweezers. This will require your child to use the muscles in his hands, which will boost his fine-motor skills. Alternatively, encourage your child to put together jigsaw puzzles, play board games or put puppets on his hands and perform a show. Each of these activities will also improve the muscle strength in his hands, fingers and wrists.

Sara Ipatenco has taught writing, health and nutrition. She started writing in 2007 and has been published in Teaching Tolerance magazine. Ipatenco holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in education, both from the University of Denver.