Play dough and Fingerpaint

As parents of toddlers we tend to focus on communication, we are so focused on how many words our child is saying and labeling everything a thousand times! Don't get me wrong these are extremely important things to work on but sometimes with so much focus on language development, motor development gets put on the back burner. It is important to set aside a little time in your week to work on your child's fine motor development. Often times as children get older and start to 'write' letters or their name they struggle and it's not always for the same reason but the majority of the time it's because the muscles in their fingers are not fully developed and have not been strengthened. Play dough or clay is one of the simplest ways you can strengthen those muscles. The toddler age is the perfect time to start! In an earlier post I put up a recipe on how to make your own play dough, so if your toddler is at a stage of oral fixation, you won't have to worry about them digesting anything harmful.
This time we played with play-Doh brand.

Squishing, pulling, ripping, squeezing, poking and pushing objects into the dough is all contributing to strengthening those little muscles in their fingers. Just as we work on teaching the names of objects to help their vocabulary to grow in the future, working on strengthening their fine motor muscles now will help with their writing and penmanship in the future.

Now if your feeling a little more adventurous, finger painting is also a wonderful way for little ones to have sensory stimulation as well as strengthen their fine motor muscles. Finger painting also is great for improving hand-eye coordination. Finger painting isn't really as scary and messy as you may think. If your little one is still in a high chair then it makes things even easier. We do the majority of our projects in the high chair, it allows for easy clean up. Just put a piece of paper down on the tray and squirt a few drops of different color paint and let the fun begin. Finger-painting paper is the best to use because it wont tear but we just used regular white printer paper. If you see it starting to tear then just give them a new piece.

Life's to short! Don't stress the mess!

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