The ways to improve your child’s fine motor skills are really limitless, but finding methods that are both functional and motivating will yield the best results.
Using foods to help your child increase their fine motor skills is functional because of all the strength, dexterity, and in-hand manipulation needed to open and eat the food. And really, what could be more motivating for kids than food? So, I’ve complied a list of top 10 HEALTHY foods that your child can peel, squeeze, tear, and open to improve their fine motor skills!
#10- Snapping Green Beans- Get those green beans prepped for dinner by having your child snap them in half. Improves bilateral coordination skills, fine motor strength, grip strength, and visual perceptual skills to hold the green bean and snap them in half.
#9- Plucking Grapes off the Vine- Having the grapes off the vine and ready to eat makes them more convenient and more likely to be grabbed on the go versus a pre-packaged, preservative-filled snack. Plucking improves bilateral coordination skills, fine motor strength, pincer grasp. Boost your child’s brain-body skills up by having them cross their mid-line by putting the cluster of grapes on one side of the body and the bowl for the plucked grapes on the other.
#8-Peeling clementines/tangerines/ oranges- The little clementines or tangerines typically work better than the big oranges for small hands. Peeling them improves finger strength, in-hand manipulation skills,and bilateral coordination skills to stabilize the orange in one hand and peel the skin with the other hand.
#7- Mashing up avocado with a masher- Make some guacamole and get stronger hands at the same time! Improves grip, hand, and finger strength as well as bilateral coordination skills
#6- Peeling a hard boiled egg- Perfect breakfast item or snack for kids… have them draw on the eggs before peeling them for extra fun! Improves finger and hand dexterity and precision, bilateral coordination, and tripod grasp development.
#5- Peeling a banana- Starting from breaking off a banana from the bunch, this improves grip strength, pincer grasp, bilateral coordination, and visual perceptual skills.
#5- Squeezing honey out of a plastic container-Although glass jars have certain advantages over plastic containers, using plastic jars to squeeze honey out is an EXCELLENT finger and hand exercise, especially if the jar is half full.
#4- Scooping ice cream with an ice cream scoop-Yes, these were all supposed to be healthy foods, but there are some healthier ice cream options out there, and this one will probably be the most motivating for your child! Grasping the scoop and scooping the ice cream improves grip strength, upper extremity strength, and bilateral coordination skills.
#3-Stirring thick, natural peanut butter– Many brands of thick, natural peanut butter have naturally settling oils on the top and the peanut butter requires stirring before eating. Improves grip strength, upper extremity strengthening, and bilateral coordination skills to stabilize the jar with one hand and the spoon with the other.
#2- Pouring a glass of milk from a gallon carton- A gallon of milk weighs about 8 pounds, so pouring a glass from a full gallon of milk takes some strength! Improves hand, finger, and grip strength, upper extremity strength, bilateral coordination, and visual perceptual skills.
#1- Husking corn on the cob- Peeling back those layers of green leaves to get to the corn cob is tough work! This activity is EXCELLENT for improving hand and finger strength, upper extremity strength, grip strength, and bilateral coordination.
These activities are great ways to bond with your child plus they are so functional, motivating and delicious!! Eat your heart out!!